Helping the CEO isn’t job one for the board

“Unless we’re certain that what we do is helpful to our president, I won’t waste my time coming back.”  The board member’s comment and the vehemence with which she delivered it, took me by surprise. From where I sat, it had seemed a productive meeting.

Ask, and a helpful mission statement will be given you.

At the moment, I’m up to my eyeballs in policy work for the board that I chair. A trio of us are slogging away on ends policies – those few pithy statements that, in the words of John Carver (our governance guru), proclaim the differences the organization makes, for which beneficiaries, and at what cost. […]

Get governance or get off

I feel the pain of nonprofit CEOs and development staff who rail about board members’ reluctance to step up to the fundraising challenge. I’ve served on the development staffs of three Christian colleges, including a short stint as a VP for Advancement. For the past 15 years, I’ve provided development counsel to faith-based nonprofits. I’ve […]

Nonprofit leader, fundraising isn’t your board’s problem.

Just once, I’d love to pick up a report citing CEO support for boards doing what boards were created to do. That is, to govern — preferably well. Better yet, in an exemplary manner. Sadly, the 2012 Governance Survey from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability isn’t it. Despite ECFA’s valiant efforts to steer ministry […]

Getting boards some respect

It’s  humbling for a governance geek like me to confront (again) the brutal truth that board work isn’t much understood or valued by much of anyone beyond the CEO and maybe a few other senior staff. It’s also helpful. Sequestered from the hoi polloi, board members begin to believe they’re the center of the organization’s […]

A five-step cure for boredom in the boardroom

If you ‘re the member of a ministry or other nonprofit board, chances are you know the frustration of a poorly run meeting. You’ve yawned through lengthy staff reports, incomprehensible financial updates, and endless rehashes of perennial crisis issues. But because you believe deeply in the mission of the organization you’ve been called to serve, […]

Do-it-yourself stocking stuffers for nonprofit junkies

You do good things for other folks all year round. In these last days before Christmas, do something nice for yourself — without spending a penny. I’ve pulled together some terrific stocking stuffer ideas for nonprofit junkies. (That’s you, dear reader.) All are  just a click away. Blue Avocado. The editors describe this monthly online […]

Tapping a treasure trove of governance wisdom

Earlier this fall, more than 600 governance leaders from across the continent descended on Atlanta for a two-day confab on the newest thinking and practices in nonprofit governance.  The folks at BoardSource describe their annual Leadership Forum as the “only national conference focused on the impact of nonprofit boards and the unique role they play […]

Why telling boards that governance matters, matters

Okay, so there aren’t many nonprofit boards that live up to the “Platonic ideal” of good governance. But then,  the ideal is tough to achieve — and even harder to maintain – in any area of human endeavor.  As the saying goes, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” That’s why I’m inclined […]

The board’s role in strategic change

I’ve said it before and I’m happy to say it again. A board’s ability to provide strong governance really does matters to an organization’s success. In fact, I believe that an organization can be no stronger than its board – at least in the long term. BUT DON’T JUST TAKE MY WORD FOR IT.  Consider […]