Friday afternoon reflections on another week of generous matters

Getting the most from board meetings. According to the 2010 BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Index, many nonprofit boards struggle to take fullest advantage of meeting time.

  • Only 39 percent of boards are prepared “to a great extent” for meetings (e.g., read materials in advance, follow up on assignments).
  • According to chief executives, 38 percent of meeting time is spent on committee and staff reports compared to 34 percent on strategic thinking and discussions. Boards that spent more time on strategy and policy were rated as more effective.
  • Only 52 percent of chief executives describe their board committees as working well. When asked to explain what was not working, they pointed to a lack of attendance at committee meetings, unclear committee assignments, and small boards with not enough members to go around.

If you recognize your board in any of these statements, you’ll want to check out Meeting and Exceeding Expectations: A Guide to Successful Board Meetings (BoardSource, 2009).

Getting the most from Webinars.  The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that “Web-based educational sessions are proliferating rapidly and offering an increasing range of learning experiences.” Unfortunately not all Webinars are worth the admission price (including those that come free of charge). But not to worry. The Chronicle article includes helpful tips for getting the most from Webinars. Here are the bullet points.

  • Choose sparingly.
  • View the Webinar as merely an introduction to a topic.
  • Research the presenter and the sponsor.
  • Look at the producer’s earlier Webinars.
  • Check the program agenda.
  • Ask about extras.
  • Check in early.
  • Try prerecorded events, as well as live.

Getting the most from donors. Candid comments about your organization’s fundraising program cost little to solicit, but are worth their weight in gold.  However, you have to ask to hear.

That’s the advice of Bill Reichart over at Ministry Best Practices. He lists three key things donors won’t tell you unless invited to do so.

  • They’re unhappy.
  • They don’t feel appreciated.
  • They want you to do better.

According to Reichart,

the number one reason donors stop supporting a charity is the way they were treated by that charity. Just because you’re not hearing disappointment doesn’t mean donors are pleased with your organization.

What's your take on this topic?

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