The CEO is a lonely position in these CV times. Board need to step up and support them.

Title  The CEO is a lonely position in these CV times.  Board need to step up and support them.

We now have a roadmap for Ireland’s reopening from a societal and economic perspective which gives us a framework to support our planning process as we hopefully move towards a period of recovery.

As the charity sector continues to work around the clock as part of Ireland’s frontline efforts and protect and support the most vulnerable in society, charity trustees are helping to support the many demands charities face today and into the future.

As audit season for charities progresses many boards are faced with the question of whether or not they are a going concern. Should they include COVID-19 as a post balance sheet event, how long can they retain staff?

There is always a delicate balancing act between how the board should support their CEO and team. While the buck stops with the charity trustee in terms of legal responsibility, it is the CEO who delivers the strategy on a day to day basis. 

So how can a charity trustee support their CEO at the moment? The best thing that you can do is ask them!

Charities are adapting quickly and innovatively, and their boards should respond similarly. So, at this time be mindful when requesting additional information, rather than generating new reports, it might make more sense for the Chair to schedule a call to discuss the key issues and allocate action items accordingly. 

It could be a trustee getting a second opinion from an advisor on HR responsibilities, it could be volunteering to develop a webinar that may support your stakeholders, it could be managing negotiations with a charity’s landlord.

Yes, these are task based and typically outside the remit of the board, but some CEOs need an extra pair hands. And many board members want to help.

Fundraising is critical at the moment with many charities suffering huge losses in fundraising income. Often fundraising decisions can be taken at board level and although they can have an immediate positive impact on the bottom line, they can also have a much more negative impact in the medium to long term.

Research has shown that 3 out of 4 people are still open to donating. This means fundraisers still have a captive audience. We need to allow them to do what they do best, innovate, tell stories of hope, impact and raise those much-needed funds.

The best piece of advice I can give any organisation is to engage and communicate with your CEO and Executive team, offer practical, tangible support and advice, be that sounding board and be there to listen.

The role of CEO is lonely at the best of times, can the board change that?

strategies, then many of us including the millennials will be sceptical.

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David W Duffy  


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