Advisory Board Leadership 

Importance of Unrestricted Gifts 

Donors increasingly want to directly see or understand the impact of their giving. Many want to designate the charities or interest areas that benefit from their gifts. And many others recognize they may not know the future needs of the community, and grasp the power of giving an unrestricted gift.

Unrestricted, or discretionary – funds are core to the work of an Affiliate. Gifts given to the Affiliates' Endowed or Non-Endowed Community Impact Funds allow the Affiliate Advisory Board the flexibility to recommend grants to meet needs as they arise in the community.

Discretionary gifts require a deep level of trust between the donor and Community Foundation, signifying confidence in the Foundation's ability to identify the greatest needs in the community and to act accordingly. In recent years, due in large part to discretionary gifts, the Community Foundation has been able to support several emerging issues in the region on a large scale.

For an example of how one community has been transformed by an individual's discretionary gift read A Big Bet for Change in Americas Heartland.

For more information on the role of discretionary giving, read Critical Role of Unrestricted Giving, from the Lily Foundation.

Criteria for Affiliate Advisory Board

Visit our roles and responsibilities section for criteria for Affiliate Advisory Board members.

Why Every Affiliate Advisory Board Member Should Support Operations

Some Affiliate Advisory Boards struggle with whether to require advisory board members to be donors. While some feel that the time an advisory board member gives is enough, requiring a financial gift adds creditability to the organization as they talk to others about giving.

Imagine encouraging someone to support your Affiliate's operations, or to make any gift at all. That person very likely might ask if you support the Affiliate operations yourself. Would you feel comfortable saying "No"?

Every gift helps the Affiliate generate new impact and growth. When you, as an Advisory Board Member, give:

  • You gain the added credibility needed to interact with any donor or prospect.

  • You gain a personal story that helps you engage others in the idea of community philanthropy. Your gift to operations allows you to say, "I give to the Community Foundation because ____________."

All donors have the ability to give at different levels and advisory board members are no exception. Affiliate Advisory Board members should contribute at whatever level and in whatever manner fits their circumstances.

Adapted from Reaching Out, The James Irvine Foundation

For more information about creating a culture of creating board ambassadors, please read Reaching Out | Board Ambassadors for Growth in Community Foundations by the James Irvine Foundation. Please be advised that some of the material contained in the James Irvine Foundation piece is not applicable to the Community Foundation and its relationship with its Affiliates.