How truly committed to inclusion is your nonprofit?

What to do. What to do. Revulsion, anger, sadness, resolve. All of these emotions have been filling my head since Charlottesville. Well, really for much longer but seeing Neo-Nazis and Klansmen in the streets made them very raw again. I found myself weeping reading some of the first hand accounts coming through my Facebook feed. …

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The board’s role in approving the budget

The board’s role in approving the budget provides a great teaching tool for the difference between management and governance.. Okay board, what are you really approving? In the typical organization, your Executive Director with her leadership team have crafted the budget to review with the board of directors. But when the budget gets to the …

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Feeling blue? Chin up, get to work, there’s lots of thinking and planning to

Yes, the election left me gobsmacked. But this is no time to act like a deer in the headlights. Hundreds in my community and across the US are already thinking and planning to prepare to act strategically. You don’t have to be for or against the incoming administration to recognize that a lot is going …

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Principles of nonprofit governance?

What are the basic principles of nonprofit governance? Friday I attended an ARNOVA colloquium called A Pluralistic Perspective on Nonprofit Governance: How should context be taken into account? Four non-US academics cautioned us to think about the many factors that influence how governance is practiced in civil society organizations. They hailed from the UK, Southeast Asia, …

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Helping working boards work better. Here’s a start.

The tough challenge for all volunteer nonprofits is finding people to do the work that isn’t so much fun to most people, jobs like fundraising, membership, financial management, communications, human resource management, IT support — you get it.

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Think your board chair succession is secure? Think again.

My colleagues and I are still digesting the lessons to be learned from the Voices of Board Chairs research. (I served on the research team, a subgroup of the Governance Affinity Group of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.) One area our research team wanted to learn more about was board chair succession. Very interestingly, what we heard from these chairs was: Fewer …

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Wear your allegiance on your name tag

I’m on the board of WaterFire Providence. At our meeting last week, I got a good chuckle out of the name tag fellow board member Peter Van Erp was wearing. An architect, it wasn’t surprising that Peter designed his own custom tag. Knowing him as I do, I guessed immediately Peter’s board commitments — WaterFire …

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Answer me – dammit!

Board members: Want to INFURIATE your Executive Director? Ignore their emails. Don’t return their phone calls. It seems there is a rash of this going on these days. In the last few weeks, this has been at the top of the frustration list among executive directors I’ve been working with. Can’t get a meeting date …

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Stress test your strategic plan

I was moving to wrap up a strategic plan today with a client, when a board member asked this question: If we “stress test” this strategic plan – borrowing the idea from banking, how would recent decisions our organization made align with this plan?” Stress testing is a simulation used to test how banks will fare …

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Good reads on board learning

There is so much to learn on board governance that it can be overwhelming. That why I appreciate my colleagues across the globe who share their wisdom and help curate the vast amount of stuff flowing past us. Today I’d like to celebrate Debra Beck, EdD and her always stimulating Laramie Board Learning Project blog. …

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