Dallas/Fort Worth residents have enjoyed the pleasure of watching an institution on public television, Dennis McCuistion, tackle thorny issues in our society for over 25 years. Unreservedly independent, Dennis interviews leaders in politics, business and delivers the answers for his audience.
Dennis is the Executive Director of the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance at the University of Texas at Dallas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management. I recently had the opportunity to visit with Dennis about nonprofit governance at a Rotary meeting.
Dennis spoke about two issues he sees with the many nonprofit organizations he advises. Board members of most nonprofits go on the board because they are passionate about the cause or because they are asked to make a gift and they do. But many are inexperienced in fiduciary duties, finances such as CEO compensation issues, and strategy. Boards must continually ask the question what are we supposed to do in the future and lead the strategy development to answer this pivotal question?
The second issue is donor base fatigue because of the stock market swings and in particular, the oil and gas prices. Many of the oil and gas people, big donors in the past few years and one in particular Dennis is involved with said, “Instead of giving you this, we’re going to give you 20% right now.”
Dennis raises an excellent point about major giving – the source of many major gifts are assets the donor believes can be replenished fairly quickly or the income from those assets. Nonprofits must continue to promote their case, their stories of success, and their outcomes to demonstrate their exceptional value in order to continue receiving gifts of significance. Boards which implement best practices in nonprofit board governance are most likely to achieve success in realizing transformational gifts and advancing their respective missions.
Thank you, Dennis, for sharing your insight.
About the Author: John Gilchrist FAHP, CFRE is the founder of Philanthropy Focus LLC. For over 15 years, John has successfully guided non-profit organizations to deepen donor relationships, strengthen governing boards and staff and enthusiastically helping them raise over $100 million to enhance their service to the community. He also held responsibilities in strategic areas such as physician recruitment and contracting, managed care network development, administration of a physician hospital organization, hospital and health network marketing and business development, outpatient clinic management, and hospital operations.