Governance advice with a familiar ring

A recent issue of the Association of Theological School’s Colloquy online newsletter included advice gleaned from a nine-month long project focused on governance challenges at 21 member schools. A quick read through and I was ready to shrug off the findings as providing nothing new. Which, in fact, is what the author of the Colloque […]

Board member, how about giving fundraising a try?

I don’t want to be one of those people who assumes that every member of every board is cut out for fundraising. And slap me down if I veer toward a description of board members as ATMs or “pay pals” for the organizations they serve. As I’ve said time again here at Generous Matters, the […]

The parable of surfing dogs, your board, and fundraising

Topping the list of most often asked questions from frustrated nonprofit CEOs and ministry heads is “How do I get my board to grab hold of fundraising?” I long for curiosity about the basics of good governance. But given the financial situation (miserable) of the majority of small to mid-size nonprofits, a shift in focus […]

Generous Matters top 10 list for 2016

There’s much about 2016 that I’d just as soon forget, starting with the ugly U.S. presidential race. Fortunately, good memories from the past 12 months outweigh the bad for me. Such is the blessing of living, working, and worshiping with generous, faith-filled, and other-oriented folks. Gloom and doom don’t have a chance when confronted with […]

Tips, strategies, and things to avoid as you plan your next board meeting

“If it weren’t for the meetings, serving on this board would be a joy. I’m all in on the mission, but one more rambling, mind-numbing agenda and I’m out of here!” I hear variations on this lament too often from board members bored out of their minds by meetings to nowhere. Perhaps you’ve said as […]

Will someone state that as a motion?

Motions are the primary means by which a governing board provides directions to the CEO and other staff, so you’d think considerable care would go into shaping them. But think again. More often than not, motions are created as follows: Hoping to bring resolution to a time-sapping discussion, the chair asks, “Will someone state that […]

IF you want to change your board, THEN . . .

The always insightful Seth Godin’s reminder via his blog that “all change involves an if/then promise” speaks to almost any aspect of organizational life. However, if you’re a regular reader of Generous Matters, then you expect me to apply Godin’s wise principle to board governance and/or fundraising. Not wanting to disappoint, that’s what I’ve done […]

Good board hunting

Topping the list of frequently asked board-related questions that come my way is how to fill empty board seats with quality recruits. With nonprofits proliferating at break-neck speed, competition for board members is keen. Throw in expectations like competent, committed, and/or generous and you might as well be chasing Bigfoot. There ain’t no such creature […]

Deciding who should sit on your board

Should donors ever sit on your board? This headline to a Nonprofit Quarterly blog asked the oddest questions I’ve seen in a long while. “Who else would you want on your board?” I muttered to myself. With the gold standard for giving by board members set at 100 percent of the membership, there shouldn’t be […]

Is diversifying on your board’s to do list?

The folks over at Nonprofit Quarterly recently invited readers to weigh in on issues that “do or should most concern boards” in 2016. They received 172 replies (mine included) to the “pulse survey,” with more than 50 percent of respondents listing “economic uncertainty” as a top concern. No surprise there. The nonprofit sector can’t seem […]