Sleepless in 2013?
TH: You can’t blame the board members, because they tend to be successful, smart people who have learned throughout their careers that they can trust their gut, and they use their gut every day in business. So they walk into an environment where they know absolutely nothing, including, you know, the surgical suite. And they’re smart, successful people who think, “Well, I can figure this out.” They’re going to just try it, and so you know you’re going to be in a mess. So I think to start with, if you can separate the difference between governance and management, and have them involved in governance and not in management, you’re always better off.
DG: That’s excellent, Tom. And you know, for me, my personal experience has also been to teach them to be fundraisers. These people have amazing networks, and we shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed to ask them to ask for money.
MP: And they usually wind up having more fun than they expected if they’re engaged in that way. They feel like they’re actually doing something for the organization, and it’s something they care about, with their friends. It’s not nearly as scary as they think it’s going to be.
TH: I couldn’t agree more. Go back to the theory of who these people are. They’re successful people who are competitive, and they like success. So if you can take them out and make them successful on an easy fundraising call, they’re going to say, “I’m doing that again!” And you’re going to turn them into successful fundraisers. Make it easy for them. Then you give them a lot of affirmation at the board meeting. And you get other members thinking, “I want that affirmation too; maybe I should do this.”
JS: My one caveat about board members: Board members are people too. We forget a lot of times we are donors. We are board members. We are fundraisers. It’s all one thing. We’re all just people who really want to change the fate of the thing that is whatever we believe wholly, and we can wear whatever hats we want to wear. It’s all the same person, so just find the right message for whomever you are.