If I had a rich board, deedle, deedle, dum

Should you get big names and deep pockets on your board? This question from a LinkedIn discussion group left me scratching my head. What’s the alternative — a recruiting strategy aimed at no-name individuals with empty pockets? Doesn’t sound like a very hopeful plan. Nor is it necessary.

It’s my experience that the better approach is to look for people with big hearts and deep passions for the mission of your organization. When board members are completely sold out to a cause, we can expect to receive the best of all they have to give — time, talent, and treasure. 

As I wrote in “The Board’s Role in Growing Givers’ Hearts” (found in Revolution in Generosity: Transforming Stewards To Be Rich Toward God):

You don’t have to be the wealthiest person on the board to contribute in a big way to the success of the organization. From your first day on the board right through to your farewell meeting, the question uppermost in your heart should be, “What can I do today to advance the mission of this organization?” And all the more so when the organization seeks to grow donors’ hearts toward God.

Money is necessary to support mission, and the giving record of board members does set the pace for others to follow. But when the development goals are bigger and bolder than organizational needs–when the goal for the fundraising program encompasses God at work in givers’ hearts, the board’s role can’t be described in financial terms alone.

The board’s God-given role is to give voice and witness to the organization’s commitment to growing givers’ hearts as the best way to grow the ministry. As board members grab hold of the amazing potential present in the fundraising program for lifting people’s sights to possibilities beyond their own imaginings, they — both individually and as a group — will be better equipped to exercise faithful leadership on behalf of the organization they have been called to serve.

Big names and deep pockets are wonderful. I wish the faith-based nonprofits with which I work had more of both. But if I have to choose, I’ll stake my claim every time on passion and love of the cause.


  1. This is so true. I find that if people are committed to the mission they will give more than money.

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