As part of ensuring the financial well being of the school, trustees contribute monies to the annual fund and any capital campaign at a leadership level equal to their ability to give. Trustees should make the school one of the top charities to which they contribute. There is an expectation that all board members will make a personal gift to both types of campaigns — and that trustees will demonstrate their support at the beginning of the campaign. A fundamental rule of fund raising is that you must make your own gift before asking anyone else. This is especially important for trustees.
Once trustees have committed to a personal contribution, they need to participate in raising funds from others. The most effective method of soliciting funds is the direct request, but many individuals find this difficult. If some trustees have problems asking for major gifts, the school should provide training for them or offer other fund-raising activities in which they can use their particular skills and connections. Many schools that hold a number of special events find that their constituents, including trustees, become tapped out. A school should seek to have balanced sources of funds based on the needs articulated in the strategic plan. These funds should include tuition, the annual fund, income from grants, endowment income, and special-event income. Trustees need to be sure that the school has a clear, long-term development plan that allows the school to thrive and further its mission.
(Excerpted from the Trustee Handbook, 9th Edition)