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Ep 12 - Serving as a Nonprofit Board Member

“You hear about “founder's syndrome” and somebody so passionate about their cause that they can’t step away and let someone else can grow it and make it even more impactful. Some of the more successful organizations know how to cultivate diverse opinions, know how to let other people run the organization. It's a critical point that distinguishes certain organizations from others. " - Matthew D. Craig

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Is your nonprofit progressing toward achieving its mission? Is it ensuring long-term sustainability? Our host May Harris discusses these crucial matters with David J. O’Brien and Matthew D. Craig, coauthors of "Building Smart Nonprofits, a Roadmap to Mission Success." The conversation delves into key insights about potential challenges in nonprofit operations and highlights success stories. One contentious topic explored is whether it is beneficial or detrimental for a budding nonprofit to host a Gala. Tune into this episode of Nonprofit Counsel to get the answers to your questions about serving as a nonprofit board member.


[1:37] David tells why he wrote the book Building Smart Nonprofits, a Roadmap for Mission Success.
[7:21] What is Sustainability? Longevity and the impact together comprise sustainability.
[18:13] Using universities as an example of monetizing intellectual property plus other samples of doing nonprofits correctly, and what is the key to sustainability
[33:22] The importance of telling the story with data to back it up and matching money to mission
[37:42] A mistake of a marketing campaign and spending on overhead
[42:25] Advice from David and Matt to listeners


  • Nonprofits should not be run by MBAs who don’t understand that nonprofits operate differently than the corporate world.
  • ​You should not run an organization on which people’s lives depend by having a short-term funding model.
  • ​Nonprofits should put operating and overhead line items in their proposals