Find, Fund or Fill

In Board Development, Evaluations by Geoff Burns

Being a board member is not something to be taken lightly. There are extensive articles written on the roles and responsibilities of board members. As readers of this blog know, I am deeply passionate about the role board members play in the strengthening and development of the organization and achievement of the mission. Regardless of the purpose, every board member should be expected to contribute to the organization.

When it comes to funding and fundraising, there are several methods that an organization may employ. One method is to require a specific dollar amount from each board member. Some organizations fund their budget from board members contributions alone.

Most organizations have some expectation of contributions from board members. At the same time, most organizations do not have a board member giving policy. What every board member should be prepared to do is Find, Fund, or Fill.

Lets say that as a board member, you are expected to produce $5000 annually for the organization. The first option would be to Fund the organization at $5000 (or more).  Funding is necessary and might be the best choice for many board members. A great way to create opportunity for board members who cannot afford $5000/ year would be a Find, Fund, or Fill strategy.

In this case, those who cannot write a check for $5000 have two other options to fulfill their financial obligations. Board members could Find others to fund the mission. With the extensive resources and contacts that board members should have, finding enough people to contribute to the mission to cover the financial commitment would be an option. This strategy also helps to recruit new potential donors and board members.

If for any reason, the board member is unable to Fund or Find the $5000 commitment, the last option would be to Fill the need. In this case, provide specialized skills or materials that would otherwise be expensed from the budget. These would be in-kind donations that the organization find necessary that the board member could Fill the need, thus reducing the organizational expenses.

A Find, Fund, or Fill approach allows each board member to determine the best method of fulfilling their contributory duty yet still meeting the needs of the organization. As consultant Jason Shanks puts it, every board member gives, every board member gets, and every board member adds value to the organization.