Charitable organizations are a valuable tool to millions of Americans for different reasons. Those 501(c)(3) organizations help people in different ways, including providing housing, grant writing or helping to solve the hunger crisis.
Judy Ghazoul, executive director of Malachi House in Cleveland; Christine Kohls, certified fundraising executive of Raising Results in Beachwood, and Ray Leach, CEO of JumpStart in Cleveland, said their board members are a big reason they can meet their organizations’ respective missions.
Malachi House provides a home for terminally-ill individuals. At any given time, the staff is taking care of up to 15 residents at the house. The hospice staff includes nurses, social workers, aides and chaplains.
Ghazoul said in order to create this atmosphere, it gets support from volunteers, individuals, foundations and corporations. They also receive help from different groups, such as men and women from schools in the area.
“What’s important to me as the executive director and to the staff is to know that we have support internally through the board,” Ghazoul said. “And don’t forget, they’re volunteers. They don’t work for us. And every time they spend with us, they’re taking away from their own time. And so you have to treat them that way. And whatever they bring to the table, it’s more than what we had yesterday.”
Raising Results helps nonprofits in the Northeast Ohio area elevate their fundraising. It works with those nonprofits on capital campaigns, annual appeals, grant writing and strategic development planning.
With organizations such as this, the board consists of people from all walks of life and different areas of expertise. They might come from human resources, legal, banking and finance. Kohls said having a diversified talent field helps the nonprofit strengthen its own operations.
“It’s good to have a diverse group that brings different perspectives,” Kohls said. “They bring different relationships and they all have different skill sets. So you have board members who might be very comfortable brainstorming ideas. They might be wonderful in terms of making calls to your donors, thanking them for their gifts and inviting them to be part of a campaign that you’re working on. Or to actually invite people to be part of the organization.
“It also means that they have different networks. So they can connect with people in their networks to reach out and say, ‘I’m on the board of this nonprofit organization. I love the mission. I know that you have an interest also in this area, and I’d love to introduce you to the work that we’re doing.’”
JumpStart has a board of 30 members, and everybody on the board serves on at least one committee. It has seven active committees ranging from finance and audit to advancement.
Leach said the state of Ohio is a big supporter of JumpStart and many of its entities they partner with across the state, in big part because of the efforts of their board.
He said there are numerous benefits to this relationship. One of the biggest is that it has been able to build an overarching strategy, a set of goals and objectives that are statewide.
“So, the state comes to us cognizant about job creation, the attraction of private investment and the advancement of particular industries,” Leach explained. “In our case, health care is obviously an incredibly important industry for Northeast Ohio. The state is able to build these macro strategies and let each region of the state execute or pursue success in nuanced ways that really align with the industries that are the strongest in their community.”
Organizations like Malachi House also have associate boards. Its associate board is made up of individuals under 35 years old. Those volunteers can bring to the table such ideas as event planning and social media engagement.
“Anything we do, any events we have, they volunteer to help us,” Ghazoul said. “They volunteer to help our events and marketing coordinator. They volunteer to help our development coordinator. These are things that are valuable,we can’t do this by ourselves. I always say, what would we do without our board?”