Let's start a conversation: How can boards be most effective? What lessons — good and bad — have you learned from your experiences?

Blog

Eight Steps to Getting Your Board in Order

Happy New Year. I hope everyone had a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday and all are staying healthy! A new year is an opportunity to get your organization and your board organized. Here are eight items to consider. Some you will want to do every year, others periodically. 1. Create, Update, and Approve Committee Charters If you have Committee Charters, each committee should review them at the first meeting of the year. If you do not have them, ask each committee to develop a Charter that spells out responsibilities, membership, terms, leadership, and meetings. For example, responsibilities for a Board Development… Read more

Do You Need A Crystal Ball to Understand Your Board?

I have served on many boards. Questions have come up about how boards work internally. Some boards are very transparent. Others not so much. Sometimes, it seems all the decisions are made by a small group of people behind closed doors. I identified five areas where I think all boards need to be more transparent. How Do I Get on The board? Some boards have trouble finding new board members; others have prospects knocking at their doors. With membership organizations — where board members belong to the organization — or schools — where board members are usually parents or alumni… Read more

Ready to Kick Robert Off Your Board?

I was on a board call about a year ago. We were going to vote on a proposal that came from a committee. No one was sure of the exact order of what should happen. Did we need a motion? Did we need a second? When were we supposed to have discussion? We were trying to follow Robert’s Rules of Order, though no one was an expert in them. One person started telling us what we had to do, so we followed along. I went back later to look at that organization’s by-laws. They did not mention Robert’s Rules of… Read more

For Success, Pay Attention After You Hire the ED

I received feedback from quite a few readers after posting my last story about selecting a new CEO or ED. One reader said that before selecting a new CEO, it is important to have some foundational aspects in order, specifically: The board is clear about its role and about the difference between governance and service. Board and staff are aligned around a strategic plan. The board has an emergency plan if the ED is not able to continue to serve. The board focuses on professional development and meets frequently with the ED to discuss progress toward the strategic plan as… Read more

Thoughts on Hiring a New CEO or ED

A friend who is board chair of a local nonprofit called to ask me about hiring a new ED. The long-time, founding ED of his organization had given notice. Nothing was broken, the ED just felt it was time to move on. My friend knew that I had participated in ED searches and wanted to know if I could give him an overview of the process and share my thoughts. He also recognized that hiring a new ED or CEO is one of the most important jobs of a nonprofit board. This is what I shared. 1. Communications I cannot… Read more