Blessed is the congregation with up-to-date by-laws, for they shall enjoy peace.

It’s the rare church shopper who makes a choice based on governance structures. And I’ve yet to hear long-time members credit their church’s by-laws as a reason for staying. But worshipers, as well as pastoral staff, should care deeply about such things – all the more so when pursuing peace is identified as a core […]

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 […]

Seven steps to a well-crafted meeting agenda

To most board members, agenda building is about as exciting as watching paint dry. Until they sit through a poorly run board meeting or two, that is. Nothing brings out appreciation of a thoughtfully prepared agenda like bad experiences in the boardroom. In my work with boards of faith-based nonprofits, I describe great meetings — […]

Observations at the outset of a pilot project on board leadership

This week, I’ve had the pleasure of spending two days with a fantastic group of CEOs and board members from eight faith-based nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest. We’re here as guests of the MJ Murdock Trust, where the program staff share my strong conviction that good governance really does matter to mission fulfillment with economic vitality. […]

It takes a team to win the board game (part 1)

Newsweek isn’t where I expect to find advice on developing strong boards. However, a recent issue of the magazine provided just that with an article titled “How to Build a Winning Team.”  It’s immediately obvious (at least to me) that the four-step approach suggested by consultants Jack and Suzy Welch is as useful in the […]

The devil is in the bylaws

I’m a self-confessed governance junky, which makes me the odd person out in most settings. There aren’t a lot of folks who share my enthusiasm for board handbooks, policy manuals, and trustee evaluation instruments. So imagine my excitement upon finding an article about by-laws nestled between heady theological material in a recent issue of Christian […]

Advice to boards: In bad economic times, keep on doing the same good things

When asked what boards of faith-based nonprofits should be doing in these tough economic times, I respond: What you should have been doing all along. In good times and in bad, the chief duty of a board is to lead with the best possible governance. My charge to boards of theological schools in a recent issue of In […]