From what I have seen in my non-profit experience, when it comes to choosing lay leaders, we always want our biggest donors to be our lay leaders. On the one hand, this certainly makes sense. Of course we want our big donors to be involved. The idea is that the more involved they are, the more they will see the wonderful work that we are doing, and they will want to give even more.
However, now that I live and work in the non-profit world in Israel, I am noticing that this model might not always work. One of our big goals is to involve younger leadership, which will not only bring a breath of fresh air into the organization, it will also sustain the organization in the future. Thank G-d, in Israel there are some younger people with high giving potential. But from what I have seen that does not seem to be the norm. Which brings me to the question: How important is donor potential when selecting your lay leaders?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, but I’ll also tell you my opinion. Of course donor potential should be considered, but it should not be the only factor in selecting lay leaders, especially amongst the younger generation. Private donors are wonderful and are in many ways the heart of the organization. But there are also other ways to get money … the government, foundations, grants, etc. So I don’t think that everyone who sits on a board needs to commit to a minimum annual gift. People from different walks of life and different circles can also contribute new, fresh ideas.
What do you think?