Is it Legal?

on in Fundraising

I was at a seminar the other day that reiterated the legal duties of a board of directors. The instructor pointed out that nowhere in the law did it mandate that board members contribute.

Then he turned to me, knowing how much this is Cause Effective's lifework, and asked: “Is this correct?”

My answer?

Yes, but...

True, board member contributions are not a legal mandate. But it is a legal mandate to ensure that the organization is carrying out its mission.

Legal symbolsAnd it takes resources – financial and otherwise – for a nonprofit to do so. So I've always seen board member giving as the kernel, the first step, of making sure the organization has the resources it needs to do the work it's chartered to make happen.

It's a moral mandate.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the interplay of legal and moral strictures. And how much of the glue of social interaction comes from the moral guidelines, like the Golden Rule, that shape our behavior.

“Do no harm” – that’s legal.

“Carry your brother” – that’s moral.

“Show kindness to a stranger” – is the bedrock upon which nonprofits are built.


“Serve as a pillar in changing the world” – well that’s what board service is all about.

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