Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Nonprofit boards WANT meaningful, challenging work

I could fill two lifetimes of Wednesdays with thought-provoking quotes from the new Terrie Temkin-edited book, You and Your Nonprofit Board. This one resonated this morning, because it's been an all too consistent, all too frequent theme in my work with boards (and my own experiences, frankly).

It goes much like the scenario Lysakowski describes in the quote. We're lucky we conned them into serving in the first place (recruiting is haaaaaarrrrrrd...). We probably lured them with a promise along the lines of "Don't worry. It's not a lot of work." We're lucky they said yes. We can't possibly stretch them. We can't possibly ask them to do the hard work of governance. They might refuse! They might leave!

Guess what.  If you've recruited the right people - leaders who will govern - we're more likely to respond exactly as Lysakowski describes here. We want the challenges. We signed on for the challenges. We're qualified to handle the challenges. We want to make a difference. When you treat us with kid gloves, tippy-toeing around the real work - the meaningful work we signed on to do - you lose us.

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