Board Cafe: Two Simple Ways to Communicate Expectations About Money

Board Cafe

Two Simple Ways to Communicate Expectations About Money

By David LaGreca

Two simple ways to communicate expectations about money:

While effective organizations recognize that board members bring expertise and experience, most boards also look to their members for personal financial contributions (their "venture capital"). But communicating fundraising responsibilities in a friendly, positive way is difficult for many organizations. Here are two simple ways to try:

A. Wish List:

Staff often assume that board members understand how to help defray day-to-day costs, however, a simple statement of "wishes" will give board members ideas on how to do that! Some creative example of non-cash wish list items include:
++ Having a major printing project for their fiscal year be taken care of by a board member
++ Having each board member provide an introduction to staff of a potential funder (corporation, private foundation, individual) during the year.
++ A color laser printer, a couch, pet carriers, a tractor, or other equipment
++ Having each board member bring at least four individuals to at least two theater parties during the year.

B. Board Member's Budget Pledge Form
Each year, as part of the budget adoption process, one board president we know collects the following simple form from each board member:

For the Fiscal year 1998 my contribution toward the support of this organization will be:

1. My personal contribution: $________  Check Enclosed  _ Send me a quarterly reminder  _ Charge my credit card quarterly.
2. My company will match: ____________________
3. I will make a financial contribution of stock, bequest, other: ____________
4. I will participate in preparations for one or more of our special events:
     _Annual Gala _ Theater Party _ Summer Bash
5. I will assist with fundraising outreach to the following foundations, corporation, individuals:
6. I can provide/identify in-kind resources/services (computer equipment, office supplies, transportation, furniture, professional services, etc.):

Making this form part of the budget process illustrates how contributions are a fundamental part of how the organization will find needed resources for the coming year.

Original publication date: 02/09/1998