Musing on recent events in the charity world it is easy to see how the rot can set in at a third sector organisation without anyone noticing. I have put together a few "must haves" for an organisation that wants to go down in a blaze of glory.
- Ensure that absolute deference is given to one key figure. This will ensure that their weaknesses will never be balanced out. If it’s the founder – even better...
- Make sure that you appoint a Chair that is too busy to properly know what is going on. Choose them on the basis of their profile and reputation in other fields, rather than their ability to do the actual job of chairing the charity.
- Allow the one key figure to appoint Board members. This ensures that the oversight of the executive is spectacularly weak. It probably also ensures that governance is never properly considered. It makes for jolly board meetings, though. If there can be a lot of fruitless hand wringing about what other organisations have done wrong that helps.
- When you spend a small fortune on your annual audit and the auditors tell you that there is a problem... ignore them. After all, they are only the expensive experts that you have hired to advise you; what do they know?
Of course if you want your charity to live long and prosper you could try doing the opposite.