Anyone who has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than a few hours will know that one of the most vexing problems most organizations have with fundraising is an inability to recruit and maintain board members who willingly and enthusiastically help with fundraising. This problem has led to a small industry of people who train boards, write about how to build a fundraising board, create materials to give to board members, and so on, and another small industry of people who dispute whether you can or even should put together a board that does fundraising.
To be honest, I am firmly (with a few exceptions) in the camp that believes that the board needs to give money and raise money, and that you can realistically build a board with that expectation in place. Further, this does not require wealthy board members or board members with connections to wealthy donors. The fact that active governing boards that also do fundraising are in the minority of boards discourages me sometimes, but does not make me lose faith because I have seen this model work, and when it does, it creates very healthy and vibrant organizations.
There are three main reasons that boards don’t do their jobs, and in this chapter I am going to address all three: