Governance and Leadership, Strategic Planning & Management Governance and Leadership, Strategic Planning & Management

Aha moment: ensuring adequate resources for the organization is a key role of a non-profit board

Discussion started by Roselle Rasay, on 5 years ago

We learned an important lesson in the Governance Workshop facilitated by the Association of Foundations (AF) for the project – it is the Board who is primarily responsible for assuring that our organizations have enough resources to carry out the organization’s plans as approved by the board. 

It is easy to confuse the role of the executive director vis-à-vis the board on this particular responsibility. While it is appropriate to consider the executive director as the chief fundraiser of the organization, his or her performance is largely linked to the board’s capability to open doors, influence potential donors and guide the organization’s resource development plan. On the other hand, individual board members can help in fundraising, but this requires that the management and staff are able to support the board in doing the legwork (writing the project proposal, for example) and understanding that fund development is not only raising resources but more on helping donors fulfill their objectives.

Nevertheless, ensuring the financial sustainability of the organization is still largely the responsibility of the Board. The Board should periodically review and approve the rationale and plan for resource mobilization which should be consistent with the organization’s mission. The plan should be able to answer why the organization needs the money and how it will be used. 

 

Join the conversation

 

  • In your Board Development Plan, what are some of the action steps you have identified or have already done, which worked well in making the Board more active in resource mobilization? What were the concrete results of these steps?    
  • On the other hand, what was the most difficult part in involving the Board in resource mobilization?  How did you address this challenge? 
  • Share your tips and techniques in engaging the Board more actively in raising funds to support your mission.   

References:

  • Association of Foundations (AF)’s Effective Board Governance Workshop for the “Strengthening the Capacity of CSOs Project”
  • BoardSource, Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards
  • Nonprofit Quarterly, ‘Your Board is not a Fundraising Squad,” August 11, 2011
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amelia22brown
amelia22brown
Go on http://www.gargor.com
1 year ago
John Piermont Montilla
John Piermont Montilla
Thanks jet, we are set to have our joint council-board strategic planning this coming summer and yes, we need roles and responsibility clarification for each board member. We will also develop a self assessment that we administer quarterly in order to assess whether each board member had understood their roles and executed them to achieve their expected deliverable individually and collectively.
4 years ago
Jet Pacapac
Jet Pacapac
Thanks, John for sharing your experience. Aside from making sure that there is ample support for the activities of your board, you need to make sure that they are playing their strategic role, to avoid making the "working board" a permanent fixture, and that they are able to set a good direction towards building a strong, sustainable organization.
4 years ago
John Piermont Montilla
John Piermont Montilla
One of my advisers Ms. Ely Lumdang requires me to include an institutional fee of 5% of the total project budget of any programs that we implement. This ensures that the Board who are not paid for their oversight functions are funded for its board meetings, spot checks, program and financial monitoring, and reporting in relation to project operations from onset and all year round. So I realized that problems happen and are not solved if the board is not engaged. And they are not engaged because their support services are not funded. So I said AHA!

When project term ends, staff just go their own and you are left with your Board who never received any salary. Another AHA!

I love my new board.
4 years ago
Sixdon Macasaet
Sixdon Macasaet
I am a member of the Board of a small NGO which has for many years now had great difficulty in raising funds. In fairness to the Board, we tried to help in fund raising in various ways, including generating project concepts and holding a writeshop to draft the basic parts of a project proposal, but we only had a part-time staff and s/he was unable to do the necessary follow thru actions (getting additional data required, talking to possible partner organizations/communities,etc). In the end, we had to decide to close down the NGO. So, yes, fundraising has to be a team effort between the NGO's Board and the staff.
4 years ago
Roselle Rasay
Roselle Rasay
Thank you for your comments, Doc John. The orientation on ORO indeed helped clarify for us the oversight function and roles of the Board in resource mobilization, in terms of protecting the resources of the organization and in providing leads to possible funding partners. Your example about having a Board Manual to provide orientation for the Board ‘in a more subtle way’ is also a useful tip.

There are ways by which the Board can also be involved in fundraising activities directly, and their role here must also be clarified, as raised earlier by Dada. I know of some NGOs who invite their Board members in visiting their partner communities. In turn, the Board members who get to interact directly with the NGOs’ program beneficiaries are the ones who donate from their own pockets to set an example of giving, and who get excited in asking their friends to also donate and in speaking about the NGO’s programs to other potential supporters.

We hope to hear more tips about involving our Boards in fundraising and in exercising their lead role in resource mobilization from the other practitioners in this discussion group as well :-)
5 years ago
John Solon
John Solon
The orientation on ORO was very useful because it gave focus to our Board Members' roles. Traditionally, our organization has not made it a point to ask our Board Members to be active in fund-raising. They are, however, very active in protecting our resources and in other ways of mobilizing resources (contacts, networks, and so on). This is true for our NGO Board as well as the Board of our subsidiaries.

The Governance Workshop helped us in identifying how we can reorganize the board and ensure continuity. We plan to do the "orientation of the Board" in a more subtle way, by providing a Board Manual for all Board Members.
5 years ago
Roselle Rasay
Roselle Rasay
Thank you for your comments, Dada. I'm afraid that we will not be able to commission the services of a call center to maintain discussions on this site 24/7 :-) But yes, we'll try as much as possible to respond quickly to comments and to link members to mentors or experts for answers to their questions. I agree with you that it is important for the Board to receive an orientation about their 'golden' roles or ORO (remember Ms Carn Abella's discussion on 'Oversight, Resource mobilization and Organizational direction as the Board's key responsibilities?). If i recall correctly the lessons in the Governance Workshop, it is the role of the Board Chair (supported by the Executive Director) to provide this kind of orientation to the rest of the Board members. Thus, the Governance Workshop was actually designed for this purpose - a workshop for the Board Chair and the Executive Director, plus 2 or 3 more board members, to orient them about their respective roles in governing their organizations, most especially in resource mobilization and fundraising. May I ask if something like this - orientation for your Board about their roles, particularly for resource mob and fundraising - included in your Board Development Plan? If you have taken steps on this, would you mind sharing your experiences - both the challenging and successful ones? Salamat, Dada!
5 years ago
dada de la rosa
dada de la rosa
this would be a great forum if this can be maintained regularly 24/7....
5 years ago
dada de la rosa
dada de la rosa
i think it would help if the Board can also be oriented on fundraising so that there will be leveling off of definition, understanding and roles in fundraising
5 years ago