The Art Gardner

What it costs to be on a board

As I have been brainstorming on how to get involved with the local nonprofit community, one person suggested I join a board. I balked at this, thinking I wasn’t nearly important enough. It turns out I am also not rich enough. Obviously board member responsibilities vary widely depending on the size and type of organization you choose to serve, but one crucial function is fundraising. I came across this article in the New York Times that uncovers what it takes to be a mover and shaker at some of New York’s top cultural institutions. Read article here.


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well, yeh…I guess it WOULD cost millions to be on the MoMA board. But, the smaller organizations’ boards (local ones) wouldn’t cost anywhere near that amount. Most smaller organizations have either a lower financial expectation or may even just require that every board member donate SOME amount of money (the latter is what we did at DCM). I refused to serve on one board because the expectation was $5,000 per year. Great organization, but (1) I didn’t want to spend $5,000 as well as give my time and (2) I felt that, with that particular financial requirement, the organization was going to be led by wealthier folks who already were quite removed from the population (the homeless) to be served.

Comment by Jackie Jenkins

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