Achieving Break-Thru Success Tomorrow: How to Convince Reluctant Boards to Invest in Capacity Today
We once wrote a check for a deposit to buy a house. We thought we were sold, but we failed to sign the check. The unsigned document told the real story.
Likewise, you may struggle when it comes to making nonprofit capacity investments. That is, decisions to invest today to improve your organization’s tomorrow. While leadership comes first, capacity investments take second place among the reasons nonprofits thrive. Over time, these investments build a scaffolding you use to climb to success.
When you lead with vision, you embrace these opportunities. If you lead with fear, you pass on investments even when the benefits massively outweigh the risks. Instead of success, you focus on what might go wrong.
Sign the Check
In my experience, staff generates 75 percent of capacity investment doubts. When boards see your doubts, they say no. So to get your reluctant board on board, “sign the check.”
Even when you’re 100 percent committed, some boards resist. How can you change their thinking? Provide them new information.
Insert New Information
Both new information and emotions change minds. Therefore:
Introduce new facts. “I researched your questions last month. Here’s data on our expected returns.”
Reference peers. “The orchestra’s board, whom we admire, made a similar decision with stellar results last year.”
Reframe the investment in their self-interest. “When you pull this off, your leadership will be seen as the turning point in our history.”
Lead your organization to success. Invest in tomorrow. First, sign your checks. Then provide your board the information it needs to embrace opportunities.