Give, Get or Get Off? What does that mean?

Snip20160424_53In the United States, fundraisers and nonprofit managers are conditioned to believe board members should “give, get or get off”. What does this mean?

American fundraisers and nonprofit executives believe nonprofit boards should:

  1. Give – our board members should give to our nonprofit organisation.
    • Some argue the board is already giving of their time. I would agree. But, time is not enough. Board members need to put their money where their heart is and invest in the nonprofit organisation. As fundraisers, we should expect 100% of our board to give within their means.
  2. Get –  our board members should help us to raise money.
    • In addition to giving themselves, board members should ask their peers to give to our organisation. Board members should work with CEOs and other paid staff to solicit individuals, foundations, and corporations.
  3. Get Off – if our board members do not perform in terms of steps one and two, those under performers should leave our board.
    • Board must do steps one and two. Nonprofit leadership should set KPIs for board members in the same we would set for paid staff.
    • Setting clear expectations when one steps on the board makes it easier to manage those expectations.

Nonprofit boards are critical to our success. The American example of give AND get or get off may be a crass and candid way to ensure you get the performance you require. Nonetheless, the model is one we should follow worldwide. I am not sure there are exceptions to this rule? How do you feel about the model?