To give or get–Do your board members understand their responsibility?

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Many organizations struggle with Board leadership because too often, Board members are not recruited well.  This is not necessarily even a case of organizations recruiting the wrong people, but more often it is caused by organizations not having a clear sense of the Board’s responsibilities.  This lack of clarity causes organizations to recruit board members without clear  expectations.

One of the topics that gets bandied about in recruiting Board members is the responsibility of Board members “to give of get”.  This is to say, the requirement that all Board members give a certain amount that can be contributed personally (give) or directed to the organization from elsewhere by the Board member (get).  In March of 2013, Crain’s Chicago Business published an article on this very topic.  Within the article they list a number of Chicago’s larger charities and the “give/get” expectation for Board members. I believe that nonprofits need to spend more time defining and training their Boards to understand their role, including financially supporting an institution.  Though there are some exceptions, most nonprofits would benefit greatly by clearly defining Board roles and recruiting new members with a clear “give/get” requirement.

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