Convince Your Reluctant Board to Invest in Capacity Today

How to Convince Reluctant Boards to Invest in Capacity TodayWe 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 higher income and more mission outcomes.
When you lead with vision, not fear, you embrace opportunities, even in the face of rapidly changing circumstances. If instead, you lead with fear, you pass on investments even when the benefits massively outweigh the risks. Instead of focusing on where you want to be in the future, you focus on what might go wrong now.

Sign the Check

In my experience, you and your staff generate 75 percent of capacity investment doubts. When boards see your doubts, they say no. So to get your reluctant board on board,  first make sure you “sign the check.” Deal with your doubts and fears. Listen to this live stream on how to analyze risk. (The risk assessment tool starts at 4:00.) Work through the exercise on how you will mitigate any risks.
With that clarity behind you,  present your opportunity to your board.  In most cases, your board will agree. However, some boards will resist. How can you change their thinking? Provide them new information.

Insert New Information and Help Them Feel Hope

To change your boards’ minds, offer new information and hope. Here’s an example:
  • Introduce new facts. “I researched your questions last week. Here’s data on our expected returns.”
  • Reference peers. “The orchestra’s board, whom we admire, made a similar decision with stellar results.”
  • 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, make sure you buy into the capacity investments. Then provide your board with the information it needs to embrace your opportunities. You can achieve breakthrough success tomorrow.

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