Building A Kickass Board: Recognizing ways you can optimize your board’s radness

Building A Kickass Board: Recognizing ways you can optimize your board’s radness

February 20, 2020
36 minutes

Erin Chidsey · President, Southland Strategies | Have you ever googled 'how to run a board meeting' or 'build an effective nonprofit board'? Wondering how you can optimize your board's radness? Tap into some seriously eye-opening solutions developed by nonprofit superstar Erin Chidsey.


Funraise CEO Justin Wheeler and Southland Strategies President Erin Chidsey sit down to discuss how you can implement strategies that'll have your board leading the charge toward your vision. These aren't secrets; they're things you want to do but don't know how.

Learn achievable methods for engaging your board as a whole and individually, directing your board's energy, and holding them accountable for progress toward your mission. These are the goals you've always had, just tackled with an all-new outlook. By the time you're done, even board members threatening to leave your organization will be begging you to let them stay.


Justin: Erin, thank you so much for joining us today. We're excited to talk about board development. We work, as you know, with hundreds of nonprofit organizations, not just our own customers, but organizations that are looking at our software. And we always run into questions that come from the board. And it's interesting because a lot of these questions seem so low level for what normally I would think a board is responsible for. And so today we're excited just to kind of pick your brain and to learn from your expertise about just your experience in helping organizations really optimize their board. For those of you watching, Erin has been in the nonprofit space for a while. She's been a fundraiser. She's run nonprofits. And now she helps organizations optimize boards and helps build out really impactful boards. And so could you just give us a little introduction about yourself, your experiences and what you have been up to, specifically board development?

Erin: Sure. So thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here today. My name is Erin Chidsey. I have been in the nonprofit space for about 15-16 years now. I originally started as a fundraiser for a large nonprofit here in Los Angeles, became an executive director for another nonprofit and recently, about two years ago, launched my own small boutique consulting firm, Southland Strategies, where I focus on really strategic growth and development for nonprofits, various nonprofit clients across the country. One of the things that my business really focuses on is board development because I feel like it is such a need in the nonprofit industry because once you have a great, highly engaged and motivated board, I feel like that's what helps you take your nonprofit to the next level.

Justin: Absolutely. And that's part of the reason why I'm so excited for today's content. About three months ago... It wasn't that long ago...

Erin: It was like...

Justin: Two weeks ago.

Erin: Like a month ago.

Justin: A month ago I had the opportunity to meet with Erin and actually I sit on board aside from running Funraise, I'm a board member at Liberty In North Korea. And we had this offsite meeting and Erin came to help. I don't know if it was to whip our board's ass in gear or what exactly it was, but I remember everyone walked away, more inspired, more engaged and wanting to take on more of a role at the board. And I've always, when I think of a board position, I think of it as one of the highest honors. Right? If I'm going to take a seat on a board, then I better do everything in my power to actually be an effective board member. And I think, you know, when I saw you lead our meeting, we just saw a lot of light bulbs go off. And so can you just talk to us a little bit about what is the primary role of a board for a nonprofit organization, like what is their primary function? What are the roles that they should serve and so forth?

Erin: So I think that's a really important question, but I don't think there's a one size fits all answer for that specific question. And that is because each nonprofit has really different needs. So there are some nonprofits that may really need, you know, fiduciary governance, oversight, and they don't need help fundraising. So the really primary function of that board would be a fiduciary board to provide that service. And it can be an extremely small board that can be three to five people, a larger board, maybe a board that you need people to provide governance and oversight, you may need assistance in strategic development, fundraising, outreach and awareness, and those people act as ambassadors. That's when you're looking to really need kind of a larger board to kind of have all of those skill sets displayed.

Justin: So let's start with maybe like the smaller board. Talk to us a little bit about, like the dynamic of a smaller board, what you'd normally see, what a board should look like on a smaller organization that's maybe not as complex.

Erin: So I think if you're looking at a smaller board and I would say that's probably five to seven members, you want to make sure that, you know, first and foremost, every board member should be given the same roles and responsibilities. So when they're recruited to serve on the board, they should be, you know, recruited by a staff and another board member partner, and they should have roles and responsibilities outlined for them. Every board member is recruited with the exact same set of roles and responsibilities, and they're held accountable for those. And that, you know, goes across the board. So if that's a small board or a large board, I would say that is a hard and fast rule.

Justin: So in regards to accountability, whose primary role is it to actually hold board members accountable for what they've signed up to do?

Erin: That's a two-fold position. So number one, first and foremost, as the executive director of the CEO of the nonprofit and the number two person is really the board chair. So the executive director should work in tandem with the board chair at all times to ensure that all board members are meeting and achieving their goals, which are set out for them at the beginning of their fiscal year. And at the end of the year, they will, you know, conduct a self-assessment, each board member will conduct their own self-assessment. Or should. And in turn, the executive director and the board chair will sit down with them, review their roles and responsibilities and goals for the year, and have a conversation if they've met those goals and if they haven't met them, why? How they can be helped achieve those goals through staff partnerships or if maybe at this point it's time for them to take another role with the organization.

Justin: So the self-assessment is interesting. I want to come back to that because it sounds juicy. And so we will definitely come back and talk about that. I want to talk about the CEO. We were talking a little bit before this conversation about just a lot of organizations not necessarily having or being equipped to lead a board or to know how to work with the board or to optimize a board. I think, when I think of organizations, especially smaller organizations, a lot of times the CEOs were the founders, right? People that were passionate about something, saw a problem and we're trying to find a way to solve that problem. Weren't necessarily trained to be an executive or a director or to lead a team to lead a board. So tell me about how can CEOs best prepare to lead a board?

Erin: Number one, if you have a CEO who is a founder and really happened to kind of just stumble on all the sudden running a nonprofit organization, and that is not their skill set. I think it's time in terms of them leading a board to partner with somebody else on their staff or hire a staff member that serves as an executive role who is a seasoned professional in the nonprofit industry to work with that board. Sometimes I think founders are not necessarily the ideal person to lead a board. They really need a staff partner or a professional CEO to do so. Secondly, if you have a regular run of the mill organization where your board has hired an executive director or a CEO to run their organization, I think the best way that that person can really dive in and run at a board effectively is number one. Talk to your current board. Assess your current board members in terms of what are they looking for in terms of engagement with an organization? What makes them tick and build upon that to create a roles and responsibilities structure for your board? You need to hold people accountable. The CEO needs to hold people accountable. And in turn, board members need to hold the CEO accountable. There needs to be open, candid conversations between the board and the CEO at all times.

Justin: I'd love to ask you about just kind of the dynamic of a board meeting and interacting with the board. Prior to being a board member, not a paid employee of Liberty In North Korea, I was on the board, but in a different capacity. And as executives, we would often talk about, you know, how much information should we share? Like, what is the balance? Like, essentially, like, should we expose the underbelly of our organization, you know, to these to these board members? And so we always would go back and forth. And how much should we or shouldn't we share? And so we'd love just kind of your input on the best practice around that. Is there a balance? Should you share everything?

Erin: Yes. I think it is really important that staff is very open and honest with our board to a certain extent. I don't think you want to lay all your cards on the table necessarily, because they don't. You don't need them involved in the day to day minutia or the weeds. But every staff member at every organization faces some kind of hurdle or issue. And as you mentioned earlier, board members want to help. They want to make an impact. They want to engage. So, for example, I think, that I've been an executive director of nonprofit. And, you know, we had about a 12 person board at the time that I left. And there are many meetings where my staff and I would go in and we would say, everything's great, everything's going well. We're raising X amount of dollars. We're funding this much research this year. We are, you know, driving this awareness campaign and the staff is all, you know, at their desks doing great, out meeting with donors. Everything's, you know...

Justin: We're riding unicorns!

Erin: We're riding unicorns! We're seeing rainbows! You know, it's raining money! When, you know, in turn, in reality, there are things going on in the office that could have improved. And I should have asked the board for help. I should have said we are really struggling with this staff member. And, you know, we need to know how to better motivate them because, you know, maybe they could have given some advice on that. There's organizations I've seen that are really struggling financially and they are not being candid with their board on their financials.

Justin: I think that's actually important. I mean, from my first hand experience in that. We have, well, there's a couple of things. One, it's if you're sitting on a board and you're fiscally responsible as a board member to ensure that the organization is fulfilling their promises, doing what they said they're gonna be doing with the money. And part of that responsibility is to ensure that the cash flow of the organization is in a good state. Surprising a board they're running out of money next month is not a good thing. Right? We've, unfortunately I can say I was a part of that a couple of different occasions and that never, never went well. It basically forces the board to have to jump into emergency mode. And, you know, I think that when it comes to finances, I think that's an area where you should... we should be the most transparent with our boards, because that's an area where they can actually add a lot of value and be helpful.

Erin: And they want to. That's a great call to action for a board member is to say, hey, a year from now, this is where we're gonna be. These are what our projections are. If we don't do X, Y and Z, we're gonna be in the red. And board members want to know that, you know, months in advance vs what you said a month prior to where they're all the sudden digging into their own coffers at the last minute. With enough advance strategic planning, they can help you turn the tide. And they want to do that. But it makes the board staff relationship a little dicey when you're coming to them at the last minute and asking them for help.

Justin: Absolutely. And I think the other thing is when we're not transparent with board members, it often causes board members to get involved in the wrong ways. I think it forces board members to feel like they need to be doing something. They want to be helpful. And so they start getting, I think, more involved in low-level decisions and actually not fulfilling their duty on the like strategy and execution side of being board members. And that's something I've noticed. I don't know if that's, if you've seen that in your experience as well, when organizations aren't exposing the underbelly, if you will, or exposing that the challenge that we're up against it, then it then causes the board get involved in all the wrong areas and in ways that aren't really that helpful and maybe a waste of time altogether. And I'm just wondering, from your experience and board development and being executive director, if that's true, if you've seen that to actually be the case and maybe a reason for poorly run boards?

Erin: That is 100% accurate. Board members should be strategic, high level and impactful. What we don't want, as staff, is for board members to get caught in the weeds. And, you know, I'm not saying everybody needs us, but I used to have a safeword with a board member and it was napkins. Because one time we were not, you know, giving, utilizing board members in the right way. Early on in my career and I noticed that all the sudden board members were getting really involved in special events and wanting to try to pick the color of the napkins. And I looked at my board chair and I said, this is not what is supposed to be happening. Things have gone off the rails. This particular board was not recruited with a high level set of roles and responsibilities that were not held accountable. And all of sudden they are having side meetings discussing event logistics. That's just 100% not what you want high-level executives focusing on in your nonprofit. So anytime we saw, what we did was we took a step back, we reassessed, we really define clear roles and responsibilities. In any instance, we saw something going off the rails, the board chair and I would look at each other and say, napkins. And that was our safeword to know how to get things back on track.

Justin: So if you hear me say napkins at all in this interview, it means let's get back on track.

Erin: Exactly.

Justin: OK. So I want to talk more about the board meeting. Because I think there's a lot of questions around this. I remember the first board meeting I ever participated in, as a staff member, we Googled, how do you run a board meeting? Right. Like, what are all the right things you're supposed to say? You know, there's all these kind of rituals and traditions. You know, you have to get people to vote and second and so forth. It can be scary. It can be daunting. And frankly, I think a lot of board meetings just don't happen because the executives don't know how to run them. So talk to us a little bit about how to run an effective meeting, how to make it practical and useful and a good use of everyone's time.

Erin: That's also a great question. So I met with a board probably six months ago in a closed session meeting. So their CEO was not in the room. The executive director was not in the room. And I really talked to them about what is going on in these board meetings. Why, they were recruited with a specific set of roles and responsibilities? I'm not sure if they were being held accountable necessarily. But why aren't people showing up at board meetings? Their board roster was enviable by anybody's standards. And they said, we come to meetings and we get talked at. We have a phone call, a quarterly phone call we get talked at. It's an information dump from the staff and then we're supposed to sign up for, you know, one of five slots where they can utilize us and there's not really a need, or even an ability, to engage. And I think that's where boards, where executive directors are running their board meetings wrong. They think that the board wants this huge information dump. Yeah, but in turn, they want a couple things. Number one, they want an opportunity to network because people are inevitably on boards to meet other like-minded people.

Justin: It doesn't and it's okay for it not to always be about the mission 100%? A good board member, maybe say oh, this is a great opportunity for my career or my profession to maybe interact and me with some of these other individuals that could lead to a meaningful relationship for my business or for whatever it may be.

Erin: Absolutely. As long as they are committed to the roles and responsibilities that are set out for every board member and they are actually engaging, I think, you know, board members aren't all joining boards for the same reasons. Some may be actively engaged in the mission at first. Some may be joining the board to, you know, gain business opportunities. But as long as they are acting as ambassadors for the organization, raising money, upholding fiduciary responsibilities, that's not a bad thing. It's not a bad reason to be on a board, necessarily. I also think beyond networking, you have to as we've already discussed, you have to give board members a chance to be strategic, play a role, help you solve problems. I'm not saying you should make up problems to present to your board. That's not a good idea. But I think once a quarter. Every organization probably has something they can present to their board and say, can you help me solve this puzzle? Or can we have a strategic discussion around this? Absolutely. And I think one thing that executive directors and CEOs are very wary of are board to board conversations that don't involve the CEO or executive director. I think that, you know, intimidates that staff member. I've been in those shoes before as well. I think those conversations are extremely important and very productive, and they create and enhance opportunities to further enhance the mission of the organization in the long term. So I would encourage executive directors and CEOs to loosen up around that a little bit and let their boards really connect with each other in a meaningful way and not take that as, you know, an insult to their abilities, but more as if these two or three people are connecting, this may be creating some kind of great opportunity or innovation for our organization.

Justin: Those are, I think, those are like two really great points, just about what an effective meeting can look like and just even to offer like a pro tip is something that the board that I've been sitting on has been doing recently. Because we were wasting an hour of our meetings with updates. And and it was just monopolizing the time. We’d get to the end, start talking about some really important stuff, and then there wasn't enough time to dig into it. Whether it was, you know, further financial analysis or talking big picture strategy. And so we started putting together updates that would go out to the board, typically a couple days before the board meeting, and it would just be a quarter worth of updates. And it was, you know, three or four pages long, every board member was required to read it before they came to the meeting and if there were questions, fine. But it wasn't an hour of just updates. And I think that's I've seen a lot of people get stuck in that rut. I think that and we've been surprised since moving away from that. Our board meetings have been so much more lively, so much more. It's been so much more conversational. And I think that if you can get your board, it's kind of like the advice you give to someone interviewing for a job, it's like get the interviewee to talk more than yourself and you'll know that was a good interview. I kind of feel like in a board meeting, the more board members can talk, the more effective and productive a board meeting will be.

Erin: 100%. The staff should not be talking heads. They should be enhancing the discussion, not necessarily always driving the discussion. Of course, sometimes they will drive the discussion, but that's a good point. And board members should do their homework prior to a board meeting. A staff should do their job by preparing materials, sending them out prior. The board can educate themselves before they come in so they're armed and ready to participate and engage in the day. And I do think it's important. One thing that we haven't talked about as many face to face board meetings as you can have is crucial because I know when I'm sitting on a conference call and sorry to any of my clients that are watching this but I'm, you know, checking my email. I might be on shopbop. I might be on CNN. I'm not sure what's going on. But if I'm face to face with someone, I'm 100% engaged. And I think that's, you know, paramount to running a good and effective board meeting.

Justin: And I think at the very least, if you have board members that are spread out, at least one meeting out of the year, everyone should be in the same place. I think there should be a requirement, a bare minimum. OK. So let's talk more about some board requirements. I know in the beginning you said it can look different depending on the size of the organization, the type of board it is. But in your experience and in, you know, your opinion, do you think there should be bare minimum requirements of a board member?

Erin: Yes.

Justin: And what are those requirements?

Erin: So, I've rarely seen a board that fundraising is not a requirement and...

Justin: And when you say fundraising, do you mean they are personally donating or they are personally raising money or doing both?

Erin: I would say both.

Justin: So we call that the give and get policy.

Erin: The give and get policy. I'm very into it. Yeah, I think that number one, you know, put your money where your mouth is. So if you're going to join a board and act as an ambassador for that cause, you should donate pretty much. You're very much recruiting board members that have the capacity to donate. It's rare that you will have someone sit on a board that doesn't have the capacity to give. There should be a minimum give or get, typically, that should really be a discussion between the board and the CEO and/or executive director. Just like in the LINK (Liberty In North Korea) board meeting, we just had we had a big discussion around what is the minimum give or get. And we know that many of the members will probably go over that personal give. But we need to set a threshold so when people are joining the board, they know this is kind of, you know, where you should stand in terms of your giving. So then when you're outreaching and networking with others and you're asking them to support your organization, you've already done it.

Justin: You're bought in. Absolutely.

Erin: Yeah. You're brought in. And I think that's crucial.

Justin: So one of the things that I thought was actually really insightful from our offsite with the Liberty In North Korea board was when we actually talked specifically about like the different committees and roles, you know, because we were a smaller board, we felt like we didn't need to have like an established person to run a particular committee. And so I think when you start talking about that, we started to realize, yeah, this is actually kind of important. This is maybe why we haven't brought on more board members in the last couple years. And so maybe could you just briefly talk a little bit about some of the important committees you think every board should have, no matter the size.

Erin: Yes. So I think three committees are paramount to every board. And those would be the nominating committee.

Justin: And a nominating committee does what?

Erin: So a nominating committee really just helps the board at large. Get out of the weeds on that portion. And it helps streamline the process. So that's key. Number two, I would say, would be a finance and audit committee. Most boards, if not all board, should have fiduciary responsibility. And that small group of people will really take on that kind of role and present it to the board for further discussion. And they'll work directly with your CFO, executive director, et cetera. And then lastly, my favorite topic is always fundraising and development. And I feel like we always need a fundraising and development board. So you need a couple of major cheerleaders on your board that are playing an active role, partnering with your chief development officer in order to drive new revenue to your organization, and maybe even more importantly, cultivate your current donors and broaden your network.

Justin: And I think like those defined committees, what I think is helpful about them, aside from just kind of the focus, is you may have someone, you know, that's gung ho about fundraising and they raise, you know, $500,000 and another board member isn't as excited, they're maybe hitting their minimums of give and get, but they're not as excited. But they're adding value somewhere else. I think the committees allow a CEO or the staff board members to see that like, hey, just because you didn't raise $500,000, does it make you less valuable than this person? I feel like it diffuses potential conflict and tension to be able to see, oh one board member is adding value over another, when you have more clear roles and responsibilities, I think committees do a really great job at kind of setting that expectation up.

Erin: I completely agree. Everybody on the board has the potential to add value. It's just finding where they're are going to be able to play that role.

Justin: So, kind of along this line, but a little bit different as you and I were talking about this earlier, is you have these different committees and you have board members come on, there can obviously be very natural people to fit within these committees based off their profession. But maybe talk a little bit about why that might be a bad idea and why we should be a little bit more thoughtful in our process of like who sits on what committee?

Erin: Great question. I think that people really need to self identify to committees and roles within your organization. So as an executive director, you may say we need a CPA on our board because we need someone to sit on the finance and audit committee and that just may not be the role that they want to play. I was telling you a little while ago that I worked with a board member recently and we were talking about what committee he wanted to serve on and he was in the financial industry, and he said, "well, I've been serving on the finance and audit committee because that's where everybody wants me to serve and that looks like the natural place for me to sit" he said. "But what I really want to do is serve on the fundraising committee." I have a large network. I want to raise $100,000 for this organization, this year. Which is a pretty large sum of money for this organization and that I want to partner with the chief development officer. This is where my passion lies. This is what really excites me and this is what I want to do. So that's, you know, something that CEOs and executive directors really need to think about is not putting their board members in a box and really letting board members self-identify, because that's when you're going to get the most out of a board member. Yeah, 100%. Otherwise, again, they're just taking a seat and dialing it in.

Justin: Sure. Shifting gears a little bit. When do you think or let me see, when should a CEO ask a board member to leave the board and when should board member fire a CEO? Under what conditions you think are urgent enough for either one of those things to happen?

Erin: Well, let me answer number one first. So in my kind of model and we use this at an organization that I worked with in the past and I think this was a great tool is, I'm going to go back to the roles and responsibilities. So every board member, what I suggest, is every board member is recruited with a set of roles and responsibilities. At the end of the year, they will take what their roles and responsibilities personally were and they will conduct a self-assessment and they will say, did I meet this benchmark? Did I meet this benchmark? Did I meet this benchmark? And you will either see someone who's met all their benchmarks, someone who's met a portion of them or someone who's met none. And it's usually the people that are firing on all cylinders that are the most self-critical and the people that are doing the least at the end of the year when they're doing the self-assessment, are shocked...

Justin: At how little they've done.

Erin: At how little, they've actually done.

Justin: So this is, sorry, go ahead.

Erin: But this opens up an opportunity that if you establish from the beginning, listen, every year we're gonna do this, we're gonna pick out what the roles and responsibilities are, we're gonna go through the year and at the end of the year, you're gonna conduct a self-assessment and then you're going to talk with the board chair, the CEO and yourself and talk about your accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses for the year. It's a big eye-opener on all sides. And what I have typically seen, I would say 10 out of 10 times is the person that really has not done anything, they are surprised, but then they do a little self-reflection and they roll-off. The key is you don't want to feel like you're firing somebody from the board unless there are egregious. And what you want to do is if it is somebody who is interested in your mission, you want to find a place for them that they can still stay engaged within your organization. So you find another volunteer opportunity for them off the board. This is usually a pretty easy transition and it's a little less harsh than firing somebody because they're in a way coming to this conclusion on their own. So it makes it a little more palatable.

Justin: And I mean, the key kind of tool there is like the self-assessment, right? It's going into the year, and this is what we recently did, and it was to me, one of the most enlightening things as a board member to actually go through and say, okay, what am I going to do this year for the organization that I'm on the board of? And I know that in 12 months from now, I'm going to be measured by these things that I've agreed to as a board member. And if I fall short, there's no one that I can blame for that. And I think this is something every executive, every individual running a board, should really prioritize if they're not doing. I do think it is one of the most important things that actually gets a board engaged. Self-reflective, which I think important and just turns your board into a team of people that are ready to, you know, take on whatever it is that they've agreed to and so forth. And so I think that's really important.

Erin: Agree. And another thing I would suggest is this kind of tool gives the CEO an opportunity to engage with a board member and have touchpoints with the board member multiple times throughout the year. So my suggestion would be to have check-ins. Monthly or every couple of months with the CEO and the board member on their progress where they're at. And if your board is huge, let's say you have a 50 person board, you should assign a key executive staff member to certain board members to chart their progress and let them know that they're supported, see how you can help them achieve their goals and so at the end of the year, it's kind of like a job review. You don't want to if you think you're doing great in your job. And then at the end of the year, your boss says you're terrible and you're fired and you're shocked, that's not what you want either. You want to chart their progress with them or have another staff partner chart their progress throughout the year.

Justin: Makes sense. Another question kind of along similar lines, and this is kind of in regards to an organization's progress and growth, do you think that you can tie an organization's growth or lack of growth to the effectiveness of a board? And if so, like what are ways to quantify that?

Erin: Yes, yes, yes. I think I was telling somebody the other day, my husband sits on a lot of boards around town and some boards I think probably are more functioning than others and I said, you know, your organization is only as strong as your board. And I strongly believe that. I started as an executive director at an organization here in town and the board was really small and we really took that opportunity to partner together, the board chair and I, and grow the board and recruit new board members and really keep them engaged throughout the year. We saw the organization really flourish our fundraising grew significantly, our programs were off the charts, we were spending more money where we could to impact the mission, than we had ever done before. Those board members, even though I've left those board members, are still engaged because they have this bond together. So it wasn't about the CEO or the staff. It's about whoever can slot in and continuously lead them down the right path and keep them engaged.

Justin: And I'll throw in a shameless plug here for you. I think since, you know, LINK (Liberty In North Korea) has hired you to help optimize our board, the organization is trending to grow at 20% to 30% this year.

Erin: I was thinking 50%, but okay.

Justin: 50%! I was going conservative just in case. Like, by the time the year ends, 20% or 30% is still great.

Erin: Yeah, it's okay.

Justin: 50% is better. So we'll say 50%. One thing I'd like to discuss is the types of decisions board members should be making. And I think oftentimes, you know, CEOs or executives can be somewhat timid when it comes to the board. And we've heard often when we're selling our software to nonprofits, we hear them often saying, that they have to get board approval to basically subscribe to our software, which isn't that expensive. And, you know, so I can understand if it's a big expense, typically those are in your bylaws, an expense over $25,000 or whatever  requires board approval, outside of normal budgets. But I've seen a lot of this over the years of just really small decisions being made by board members or being deferred by executives to board members. I don't know if you had any thought on that, if that was a good thing, if you felt like that was a bad thing or, you know, how you would respond.

Erin: Well, number one, that is ridiculous. If somebody needs to get board approval for a $200 software purchase, that is completely unnecessary and just totally out of bounds. I mean, first and foremost, if your board is that far into the weeds on your expenses or your event logistics or your hiring and firing of, you know, interns or temporary employees, then you're doing it wrong. That is unacceptable. And that is not the way to run a board. The CEO or an executive director needs to take a leadership role in the organization. They are not subservient to their board members. They are a peer to their board members. They are the executive at their organization and they are the ones that are really driving and creating change. And their board is there to help them and lift them up, but in high-level strategic decisions, not these low level, in the weeds type of, decisions.

Justin: So I am very excited to not only go back to my board position with all this new helpful information but also I'm very hopeful that everyone watching has found nuggets that will help them just be better, whether they're board members or executives running boards, that this will just help them in their meetings and in just their overall engagement with their board. But we want to thank you so much for the time that you've spent with us, for the advice that you have shared and thank you again for being here and for supporting nonprofits in pretty amazing ways.

Erin: Thank you, Justin. Thank you team Funraise.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit. This podcast is brought to you by your friends at Funraise. Nonprofit fundraising software, built by nonprofit people. If you'd like to continue the conversation, find me on LinkedIn or text me at 562-242-8160. And don't forget to get your next episode the second it hits the internet. Go to and sign up for email notifications today. See you next time!