The recent furor over "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson's alleged misuse of funds is an instructive lesson for executive benefit designers. 

The concern over whether Central Asia Institute used charitable contributions to promote Mortenson's book reminds us that these organizations are staffed with humans, not superhumans. Particularly for not-for-profit organizations (NPOs), having clear, targeted benefits in place for the organization's executives is a key way to facilitate both happy executives and happy donors. 

I once served on the compensation committee of a national NPO board, and I was amazed that we were able to attract top-notch executives who were willing to work for less pay than they could earn in the commercial marketplace. Why were they willing?  Because they were motivated and dedicated. Still, we did our best to sweeten the deal by providing these talented individuals with targeted executive benefits that were both useful to the executive and acceptable to donors who funded the organization. 

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