Prospective grant applicants frequently ask about our board giving policy. To summarize, the Foundation expects that nonprofit board members make meaningful cash gifts to their organization at least once a year.
We believe one of the primary responsibilities of a board is to ensure the nonprofit they lead is on sound financial footing. When board members make cash gifts to their organization, they show their understanding that raising funds is essential to the financial stability of their organization. Rasmuson Foundation recognizes that volunteering is extremely valuable. But dollars and services are not interchangeable. Volunteerism can’t do it all. Operating a nonprofit takes money, and we believe at least some of it should come from the people charged with leading the organization.
This policy has its roots in the banking principles of Elmer Rasmuson. He believed those seeking investment should demonstrate their commitment by having “skin in the game” – before they ask others for financial support.
But what constitutes a “meaningful” donation? This is a measure that is specific to each individual. For one grantee, a board member who was homeless gave $1. For others on the same board, the giving ability was much higher.
While we leave it up to the organization and its board members to decide, this is a fair question for us to raise in the review process. If you’re seeking a grant, be prepared to discuss it.
Among other questions we often hear on board giving: