News & Insights

The upcoming Spring issue of In Trust magazine, due to be mailed next month, includes an in-depth article about the roles that board members play in fundraising at nonprofit institutions.

In the article, Penelope Burk, president of Cygnus Applied Research, shares some of the insights she gained from a recent survey of 4,500 nonprofit board members.

A few key takeaways:

  • Board members feel they are responsible for the fundraising successes of their organizations. This is good -- because they are indeed responsible for this, as they are for all other outcomes.
  • But board members are often wrong about what specific tasks belong to them. Of the 12 tasks that contribute to a successful fundraising program, board members claim responsibility for four. Unfortunately, two of those four rightly belong to the CEO, not to the board.
  • Board members can be hugely influential in terms of fundraising.                     

What do boards avoid responsibility for, even though it should be in their basket? Making the "case."

The single most important responsibility of the board is determining the case for fundraising. In other words, the governing board sets the strategic objectives for the charitable organization and identifies specific programs, services, or initiatives that donors can support with their gifts. 

To read the article in its entirety, watch for the Spring issue of In Trust magazine to hit your mailbox, or read the article online. It will be available at

Interested in reading more of Burk’s work? Check out “Board members and the art of saying thanks” from the Summer 2013 issue of In Trust magazine. Or check out her blog.

Be sure to sign up for our enewsletter, which includes highlights from In Trust Blog and is mailed at the end of each month.

Image credit: Charles Forerunner.

Top Topics

Roles & Responsibilities



Board Essentials

Upcoming Events

The In Trust Center hosts learning community spaces throughout the year. Check out our upcoming events below.

Closing the Trust Gap


The current and very troubling condition of trust is a clarion call to action. But despite the dismal data showing pervasive organizational distrust, every organization can assess their current level of trust, learn and adopt a proven trust building framework, and then develop a meaningful and long-lasting plan of action. This webinar details the knowledge and practical next steps to strengthen workplace culture as a result of closing the trust gap.

In Trust Center Resource Grants


An In Trust Center Resource Grant offers member schools a chance to explore innovation at their institutions through a matching grant opportunity of up to $15,000. Listen to this 30-minute information session, including Q&A, as we provide details on eligibility requirements, funding priorities, application process. Previous grantees are eligible to apply as long as they are not within our current funding cycle.

Conflict + Crisis: Navigating the Shoals, Part 2 – A Deeper Dive


Presenter Donna Alexander, President & CEO of Advoxum Global Strategies, offers best practices for navigating conflict and crisis. She examines the crucial elements of defining conflict and crisis, identifying, and prioritizing affected stakeholders, utilizing effective communication strategies, and ultimately, executing a plan of action. Click here to view.

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

In Trust Center provides Resource Consulting to our members at no charge. Contact us today and let us guide you to the most helpful resources for your situation.

Contact Us