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What is the board’s role in fundraising? How should trustees participate in comprehensive fundraising campaigns?

According to AGB President Richard D. Legon in Board Basics: The Board's Role in Fund-Raising, governing boards have several responsibilities associated with fundraising. These responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring that fundraising is based on specific institutional plans;
  • Establishing the fundraising program’s legitimacy;
  • Ensuring an adequate budget;
  • Identifying and cultivating prospects;
  • Soliciting gifts and thanking donors for those gifts;
  • Ensuring proper stewardship of gifts;
  • Evaluating the fundraising leadership of the chief executive; and 
  • Demonstrating their commitment to the institution by making individual gifts.

In A Board's Guide to Comprehensive Campaigns, editor Jake B. Schrum notes that some of the trustees' foremost responsibilities are to:

  • Ensure the institution's financial well-being;
  • Approve its long-range plan;
  • Represent its best interest in the larger community; and
  • Ensure the well-being of faculty, staff, and students.

The comprehensive campaign intersects with trustee responsibilities in many ways that will help lead to institutional health and success. It is crucial that trustees understand this type of fund-raising effort, involve themselves deeply at the onset, lead the way in giving, promote the campaign to all constituents, and play a major role in ensuring the success of the effort.  

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