Most of us have heard the saying, “where your treasure is, there you heart will be.” Jesus spoke these words in the gospel of Matthew (6:21) when he was teaching about money. And while he was specifically talking about storing up treasures in heaven instead of on earth, the verse translates to the work of ministries and nonprofits. Board members, executive leadership, and staff should all give to the nonprofit or ministry they are part of. Yes, I did say should.
Many organizations are desperate for funds, so desperate they will do just about anything to get money….except give themselves. But, how can you expect anyone else to give to the organization when you, the individuals who are closest to the organization, are not willing to give?
People who don’t give… or who give very little often have excuses for not doing so.
One of the most common excuses for not giving is, “I am not wealthy.” We need to remember that “wealthy” is in the eye of the beholder. According to the world wealth calculator, if your income is just $33,500 annually, you are among the richest 5% of the world. Giving really is a matter of choosing to live a generous life. Generosity comes from a heart that wants to give and is not a reflection of how much we give.
Another common excuse for not giving is, “I will give more when I have it.” We have all met those people who are waiting for the next big thing…the big business deal, the big windfall that will significantly change their financial status. While the individual is chasing the money, his/her opportunity to give sort of seems to slip by never becoming a reality. We should give today, and not wait for tomorrow.
Many board members say, well, “I give my time instead.” Time is indeed valuable and for many, time is money. However, we need to give of our time, talent and treasure. In today’s economy, treasure is the money that we have. If we are making a commitment to an organization, we need to commit time, talent and treasure. The option to substitute one for the other does not exist.
Sometimes, the excuse offered by board members is that they serve on multiple boards and are simply not able to give substantially to each of the organizations. People serve on boards for different reasons, and without a doubt, good board members are hard to find. However, we recommend as a best practice, that board members should be able to make the organization where they are serving one of their top three priorities. When individuals are serving on many boards, this becomes impossible.
Giving is an important but delicate issue to discuss with board members. Many people are simply uncomfortable talking about money. I have found the simplest strategy is to approach the topic from an educational vantage point. All board members want the best for an organization and will want to ensure the board is using best practice models in their operations.
We can help by providing the board with an educational session that outlines roles, responsibilities and expectations. Contact us today!
Have you found other effective strategies?