The running exchange between Stewart and Cramer over the role of the media as cheerleaders versus watchdogs gives something for nonprofit board members to think about.
On the one hand, as board members, they are highly committed advocates, donors, and fundraisers for the organizations they have chosen to devote themselves to. They choose the organizations they ardently believe in, and as board members, they are the sales force.
On the other hand, it is also their duty as board members to be watchdogs – to ensure that the organization is fulfilling its ethical and financial responsibilities, and that the organization is constantly challenging itself to be relevant, excellent, and high-impact in its mission and programs.
Like the media, board members have a responsibility to ask the tough questions. Candid, honest situational assessments are necessary in order to create solutions. But unlike reporters, board members are committed to continue beyond asking the tough questions; board members must actively advance the nonprofit’s mission.