Do You Know Someone Who Can….?

From Chris Gandy

Be honest! How many not-for-profit board or executive meetings have you participated in when the Chair and perhaps the CEO has asked something like?


“Do you know someone who can ….
… us develop a strategic plan?
…..stage a fundraising event?
……handle that workplace harassment complaint?
……revamp our communications strategy?
…..write a government submission?

My conservative guess is that I heard these or similar questions at one in every three of these meetings I have ever attended in my career.

When you think about it from a Cause perspective, that these questions are being asked with such frequency is a worry. This then turns into a major concern when these questions typically elicit responses such as:

  • Everyone shrugs their shoulders, can’t come up with a suggestion and the CEO and their team are asked to deal with the issue as best they can.
  • Names of big consultancy firms are ritually reeled off in a wish list in the full knowledge they are totally unaffordable.
  • A participant pipes up and says “My neighbour is looking for some extra work, I’ll see if she is interested
  • The Chair says: “Lets get Bob back. He did a great job on that tax issue. This isn’t quite his field but I am sure he will have a crack at it for us”

I could count on one hand the times I have heard anything remotely resembling:

  • “I know the perfect person. This issue is their ‘bread and butter’. They will nail the project for us and they are affordable.”

For the sake of the Causes these organisations represent, surely there has to be a better of way of answering these recurring questions – and we believe Cause and Effective  has come up with a model that is taking a step in that direction.

With a vision is to eliminate the “Do you know someone who can …. question from not-for-profit board and executive meetings and replace it with a “Who has Cause & Effective got available to help us?” enquiry, we are making affordable expert resources readily available to cause-based organisations.

After all to get better answers you need to ask better questions!

About Chris. He is the Founder and Managing Director of Cause & Effective. An organisation that places vetted, affordable experts within the reach of cause-based organisations. You can find a Cause & Effective expert here

About B-Cause

B-Cause is published by Cause and Effective. We help good causes find and attract effective leaders.

1 Response

  1. I’ve seen it many times. And many times seen someone’s brother’s uncle’s cousin engaged to undertake work which turns out to be a great money spinner for the brother’s uncle’s cousin but a complete disaster for the organisation. Part of the problem I think is that NFP boards often don’t know how to evaluate the performance of people they engage so actually don’t even know when people are doing a poor job.

Thats our take on things. Over to you, please add to the discussion.

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