Last month, I wrote about the soft skill set that members of the Steering Committee bring to this endeavor; I thought that this month it would make sense to discuss some of the hard skills needed to get this enterprise up and on its feet.
Once we move beyond the emotional attraction that most not-for-profit service projects generate, the practical question must be “But where will the money come from to help us get started?” Alas, while concern for money is not, cannot, and should not be the primary consideration, it certainly must be weighed in the balance opposite the emotion attraction of such an undertaking. It is a primary consideration. So, a hard skill is being willing to ask for financial help from those who might be in a position to assist us in getting started. Over the last 15 months, Steering Committee members have approached many people to solicit their financial assistance; we have been truly humbled by the generosity of every one of them. The vision that we have laid before our many benefactors has resonated! They see the importance of our mission, and with generosity and daring they have stepped forward at a critical time in our young history to help us launch. I will be writing more about this benefactor group in a future blog.
Once funds have been entrusted to us, business acumen must be exercised to preserve that which has been entrusted to us. We must be careful stewards of the monies and other gifts that we have received. We seek to adhere closely to a well-designed budget. A careful eye on expenses must be balanced against the foresight to strike out in a creative fashion to execute on the mission.
Entrepreneurs often lack a hard skill which is so critical to the success of the mission. And that is the ability to see when it is time to bring on new talents. Thus, as you will have noticed, we refer to this founding group as a Steering Committee rather than a Board of Directors. Once launched, we will be establishing a Board of Directors who will serve as trustees for that which has been created. The role of a Board member is to preserve that which has been entrusted to him or her. Before that can be done, the Steering Committee is designing that which will be entrusted to the Board. Board members will bring different skills, different mixes of experience, different perspectives to the enterprise. With the mission clearly articulated and the path cleared from obstacles that are unique to the start-up phase it will be time for the Board to preserve the school’s mission. Want to know how you can help? See the “How You Can Help” option on the menu on our home page and write to our Head of School Bob Sylvain at firstname.lastname@example.org.