This is an excerpt from Demystifying Decision Making in Family Philanthropy.

Do any of these common decision-making dilemmas sound familiar to you or your family foundation board?

  • One board member, often a founder or parent, wields more influence than the others, but the influence is not explicitly acknowledged;
  • Board members go along with a vote just to get the decision over with, even if they don’t fully support or understand it;
  • Board members—or other stakeholders—are asked to give their opinions, even though key decision-makers have already made up their minds;
  • A decision made when the whole board is present is later undone by board member(s) who disagree with it;
  • Board members disagree with a decision more because of emotions related to the person supporting the idea than because of the content of the decision;
  • No one is in charge, so the decision-making process is unclear or falls apart;
  • Board members apply different lenses, priorities, filters, or criteria to make a decision such that expectations are not aligned;
  • There is insufficient or inadequate information to make an informed decision, and/or the necessary stakeholders have not been consulted;
  • Participants don’t openly express genuine opinions around family members for fear of rocking the boat.

Get Involved

Search Knowledge Center for Resources!

We’re here to help you on your philanthropic journey. Contact NCFP for support!

Get Assistance

Keep up with trends in family philanthropy. Subscribe to our newsletter!

Signup

Family philanthropy improves the quality of life for all. Join our family!

Join Now