The Nonprofit Sector’s Most Pressing Issues: The C-Level Exec’s Point of View, Part 2
[Editor’s note: This part 2 of a three-part series on a session from the 2010 New York Nonprofit Conference held Aug. 24-25. View part 1 here and part 3 in next week’s edition of the FS Advisor.]
Here are more insights that Angel Aloma, executive director of Food For The Poor; Danny McGregor, chief operating officer at Greenpeace; Atul Tandon, executive director of the International Network and executive vice president of investor relations at United Way Worldwide; and Tom Harrison, president and CEO of Russ Reid, shared during their session, “Cracking the Shell: Open Dialogue & Discussion With America’s Top Nonprofit C-Level Executives on the Sector’s Most Pressing Issues.”
Short term vs. long term
An audience member asked the panel how to balance short-term and long-term impact, saying her organization “struggles with short-term vs. long-term goals.” Aloma said there are three things you have to do to deal with the board when it pressures you to focus on short-term concerns without considering the long-term effects.
“Parenting, patience and flood with information,” he said. “If you parent the board too much and call to ask about every little decision, it will micromanage everything you as a fundraiser do. If you continuously give your board information and just ask it to jump in on big decisions, your every move won’t be scrutinized.
“And have patience, especially for the long term,” Aloma added. “We are in a culture of instant gratification, but patience is a virtue. Be good advocates to emphasize the importance of long-term goals. Do that through parenting, patience and information.”
McGregor went into more detail on Aloma’s suggestion of flooding the board with information. He said that at Greenpeace, the fundraising and finance teams work closely together and come to a common conclusion before going to the board so everyone has the same answers, same goals, same strategies to present the board. From there, they take the board into the details to make the best decisions for the organization.