“The Helping Hand” – A Scary Not For Profit Story


By Chris Gandy

Over at Nonprofit With Balls Vu Le has been collecting and running a number of “scary” not for profit stories to get us in a ghoulish mood for Halloween.

We have borrowed one of the yarns and given it a bit of an Australian flavour and here it is:

The CEO of a remote not for profit was driving to a large rural centre to learn about further changes to some government-funded programs his organisation was running. He just knew he was going to be told again to “do more with less”.

Halfway between two towns he hit a ‘Roo the impact of which pushed the front fender against the wheel. Try as he may he couldn’t free it. To make matters worse he had no mobile reception. He had seen a derelict farmhouse a few kilometres back and although he didn’t think anyone still lived there he decided to give it a try. He walked up to the house and to his surprise a voice from inside yelled “You need some help?” The CEO explained his predicament and the man grabbed a crow bar and a few other tools and drove him back to his car.

As they drove they struck up a conversation. The man told him his name was Jim and asked “What line of work are you in?” The CEO told him about the not for profit he worked for.

With the right implements the fender was roughly put back in place and the CEO was able to carry on.

He thanked the man profusely and the man looked at him closely and said: “Listen, since you do such good work, I want to make a donation.”

He got out his cheque book and started writing. The CEO watched in astonishment when the man wrote out $100,000.00. “Do what needs to be done with it”, said the man. The CEO gratefully took the cheque and put it into his pocket,  thanked the man again and left.

At the meeting, he was telling a group whose services happened to cover the area where the incident occurred and everyone in the group became silent.

“Jim was a generous man, always helping others out,” one of the locals whispered, “but he died in 1984.” The CEO took the cheque out from his pocket, and his face went pale. They looked and saw that it was dated October 31, 1984.

Suddenly the CEO grabbed the cheque and rushed out of the room. “Where you going?” asked the locals.  The CEO shouted over his shoulder:

“Back to that house. Jim forgot to sign the cheque.”

About Chris – Chris Gandy is the founder and a Director of Cause & Effective. We are on a mission to make sure Boards don’t endure a scary experience when a CEO departs.

About B-Cause

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

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