Sleepless in 2013?
So from selecting the right board, orienting them, evaluating them, to the ongoing investment it takes — and it does take a lot of investment to have a stellar board — to giving them the comfort and success in being ambassadors and fundraisers, and finally to that relationship building. They’re the key leaders of the organizations. They’re who you want to call and have them call you back right away, and that boils down to their passion for the mission as well as their connectedness to the key staff and the organization because we respond to whom we enjoy working with. Over and over, it’s either the great exhilaration of success or the great pain of the team we work with, and it ends up being rooted in the board.
DG: What’s the formula of that level of relationship, to really have that kind of board commitment and engagement? What can we do as fundraisers to make sure that happens?
MP: One of the things that I love to do for a board is to give them permission to be smart. I think a lot of board members don’t realize that we target them because they have great skill sets in different areas in their life. They get into the room — and I’ve done this myself on the boards that I sit on — we have these experiences. We have this success in life. We get invited onto a board and doing something that we care about but really don’t know the mechanics of how to do health care or feed the poor or whatever. So we walk into the room, we take all of our worldly wisdom, that hat, and we put it on a hat rack, sit at the table, make a bunch of stupid decisions, and then we get up and put our wisdom hat back on.