A Board is a collection of individuals. The important word here is “individuals.” Not “collection.” Each member of a Board brings her own passion, interests, abilities, capacities, and shortcomings to the group.
Boards work and are generous, not because administrators engage the collective group, but rather because administrators first engage each peculiar, individual member in ways meaningful to each.
When I hear administrators complain about the giving culture of their Boards, they are almost always referring to the collective:
“Our Board doesn’t give at the level of other Boards.” Or, “Our Board is a ‘working Board,’ not a Board with a strong culture of giving monetarily.”
And while verbalizing frustrations about the collective Board may appeal to us emotionally, such statements aren’t much help in changing the circumstance. The way to change the level and culture of giving at the Board level is through engaging each individual Board member. The collective Board doesn’t make a decision to give, every individual member does.
So, instead of questioning the state of Board giving, a more fundamental (and helpful) use of our time is to ask ourselves the following:
What are we doing to thoughtfully engage each member of our Board(s)?