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Getting Past the Annoying and On to the Work

Oh My God. What is more annoying than a board meeting when a member, with all good intentions, wants the group to consider this fabulous new idea that’ll raise lots of money that no one ever heard of before? Or the person with the idea that they learned from another nonprofit that’s so sweet, it’s raising thousands of dollars and all we need to do is hire this event company to stage this great thing? That everyone else is doing and killing? Hello! Maybe the market is super-saturated with this event (a walk in the spring, an auction in the fall, a donate-your-car deal).
If the same person is continuously bringing the flavor-of-the-month event to the table for all to ooh and ah over, can we channel some of that energy constructively in an activity the board has already agreed it wants to do?
Don’t get me wrong.
Sometimes, Mr or Ms Energizer Bunny may be bringing a good idea for consideration. But before we launch a new event (here we are in February, and Ms Bunny wants us all to “turn-to” and put on a great walk in May! Sure!) can we see a business plan? A budget? How many volunteers it’ll take to get this off the ground? A time table? For Pete’s sake!
You may recall my post (#15 Feb 9) Sometimes You Gotta Tack to Stay the Course. Yes. There are on occasion excellent ideas that come to us. So we want a systematic way to sort out the wheat from the chaf and put our energies where our strengths lie.
Some thoughts to keep in mind when it’s $-raising we need to do, but we don’t seem to be able to focus:

  • There should be a development committee with people possessing skill in marketing, communication, sales, heck maybe someone who brings some real fundraising experience to the table.
  • If we can’t attract the muscle to build a development committee, seek short-term commitment to a work group that will review fundraising ideas, form a plan for the board.
  • In board orientation, and in the annual skill update for all board members, review the strategic role of the board and the way ideas come to the board, and how decisions are made.
  • The chair of the board gets some skill -building before taking the reins. Check your State nonprofit association or community foundation for low-cost workshops for board leaders.
  • Find the right experienced board member who can informally take the Energizer Bunny under his/her wing and help the wayward soul get religion on how to be a good board member.

There are numerous experienced, skilled consultants out there who can help you Get Past the Annoying. You can check for Greater Boston Consultants, you can check NH Nonprofit Association and check their directory, you can contact Executive Service Corps – NH All good resources. I’m affiliated with all of these (of course they’re good!). Board leaders should consider the value of investing in the development of the board, just as the board must consider investing in the development of its CEO and staff.

If we aren’t investing, committing to continuous improvement, the fruit will wither on the vine.

Steve Smith, Principal, It’s The Results, LLC. website: Twitter: @STEVENETWORK.

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