August 3, 2015

Ah tristesse. (That’s French for “ah, sadness.”)

I’ve said farewell to Cohort 24 and Cohort 25 at SMU. I’ve been teaching in this Masters Program in Philanthropy and Development since 2000, beginning with Cohort 9.

This summer was the 25th anniversary. Thank you, Tim Burchill, for founding this program. You would be so proud of this program. (Tim died suddenly in February 2007. He was a great colleague and friend.)

“Notes from my dorm room” appears in my blog periodically. Live from campus. Reflections after classes.

Cohort 24 and I talked about governance. The glory. The mess. The dysfunctionality. The mediocrity. And here are some remarks – from the cohort – about performance expectations for the individual board member:

  1. Have a great deal of money. But intend to invest next to none of it in this organization. And certainly don’t be willing to work on fund development or generating new leads.
  2. Rarely attend meetings. But, if forced to show up, text other board members at the table about the CEO during staff reports. Make sure that the CEO sees you texting.
  3. Make sure to attend every board meeting bitch session over a bottle of wine.
  4. Never read email. Especially the agenda. (No thought went into the agenda anyway.)
  5. Vote on bylaw amendments without having read the changes.
  6. Badmouth the organization, both in and out of board meetings.
  7. Badmouth staff too. Plus other board members. And especially the CEO.

[To be continued…]

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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