How Do Nonprofit Leaders Manage Unsolicited “Great Ideas?”
By: Eugene Fram Free Digital Photo
What does a board member or CEO do when a donor or valued volunteer approaches him/h with a great idea that needs to be implemented at once? Since most of these ideas are what a Stanford professor terms bad ideas, the board chair and CEO are often between a hypothetical rock and a hard place! To agree to a proposed project that is impractical or irrelevant to the mission will put the nonprofit at risk. But to reject an eager volunteer or potential donor could have serious donor related financial or interpersonal consequences.
When bad ideas are suggested, nonprofit directors and CEOs traditionally have hastily reviewed them—then prolonged the evaluation process hoping the presenter will lose interest in it. When an immediate reply is called for, a full review of the project will involve board and management time and effort to provide a fair assessment. If the verdict is negative, everyone hopes for the best!