Executive Director and Conflict of Interest

Dear Kim,

The Executive Director of our organization serves on numerous community boards. His committee assignments/duties as a development committee member of these same boards result in a direct conflict of interest with our mission. Whether it be a pledge for a bike-a-thon or a gourmet dinner event, he continually solicits these donations through contacts with our constituents. Is there anything I can do, short of losing my job (as the Development Specialist)?
—Knickers in a Knot

Dear Knickers,

What you can do is calm down. Your Executive Director is not married to your organization and has not taken a vow of monogamy to your fundraising program. I am a firm believer in the notion that one hand washes the other. Your Executive Director seems comfortable with fundraising and I am going to bet that he is able to raise more money for your group because of his generosity in raising money for other groups. People will help him raise money because he has helped them. I don’t see the conflict of interest with your mission unless he is raising money for groups that are opposed to what you do. I would ask him about why he serves on these boards and how he thinks this helps your organization as well as the community. Once you understand his way of thinking, you will be in a better position to work with him.
—Kim