Boards: Do Big Names Draw Big Bucks?

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We here at NPQ love the research that proves or disproves something we all “know.” So here is an article by Robert D. Herman and David O. Renz entitled “Do Big Names Really Draw Big Bucks?

As the saying goes, “It ain’t what you don’t know that hurts you—it’s what you do know that ain’t so.”

I especially feel that way about some of the glib consultant-generated prescriptions about board improvements I’ve seen around. There is a lot of information that passes for knowledge in that area that is quite simply clap trap. So it is with the notion that connected board members translate into a healthier budget.

I spent years feeling that this notion was an unsupported “general rule” based on what I had observed over decades.

Then, as so often happens, I was talking to Renz, who was involved in a major research project at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management in Kansas City, and he mentioned that one of the findings was that those human services agency boards that recruited fewer prestigious board members did better financially than those that recruited more: they made more gains by nearly half.

Not to say that the strategy of stacking your board with prestigious individuals never works, but it often does not and is likely sensitive to organizational type among a host of other factors, and therefore it should not be as generally prescribed as it is.

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  • Twix Raider

    Especially charity was always a business, the question is, who draws the bigger bucks? The big name or the organisation? Take a look at Lady Gaga’s teacup auction, a priceless promotion for her Asia tour next week. She does not round up the auction proceeds, she does not lift a finger, nothing. A most poor performance after the ugly rumors about her bracelet benefit sale. That’s charity out of balance, not longer nonprofit. Unfortunally people rather follow names than ideas, so the namedropping game won’t stop that soon… or does anybody ever heard of the Namazu-e-shirt concept?