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

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Creating Strategic Board Agendas

I have a couple complaints about board meetings. One is that they can be incredibly boring and unproductive. I wrote about this in my last post and will address the issue in this post with ideas on how to create and structure an effective board meeting agenda. I start with the assumption that the reason to get everyone in the room (or online) at the same time is to interact. If you spend your entire meeting on committee reports, you could just send them by email. I can read them at home or the office and use the time to… Read more

New Year’s Resolution: No More Boring Board Meetings!

I have served on a lot of boards which means I go to a lot of board meetings. Honestly, lots of board meetings are – well, I have to say it – boring. You sit and listen to presentations and committee reports, take an occasional vote, and do little else. Let’s start with the assumption that the reason to get together in one room or on one call is so people can talk to each other. To carry out fiduciary responsibility, board members need to be able to ask about finances, risks, and progress toward goals. To be thought partners,… Read more

Fundraising Strategies for Large Institutions

In this post, I share thoughts from a board member who has served on boards for very large, institutional organizations. He correctly reflects that fundraising strategies for these boards differ from those for medium-sized or small, community-based organizations. Still many of his insights can be applied to all boards. This post is the sixth in my series about nonprofit fundraising. In my last post, in contrast to this one, a board member shares several examples about fundraising for small and even all-volunteer organizations. Going back, in the first of the series, I shared a story about a successful capital campaign… Read more

Organizing for Fundraising Success

In this post, I share insights from a board member who has served on smaller, community based organizations. She has several stories. In one volunteer-led organization, she wishes that someone had documented processes to make fundraising easier. She describes two situations where board members did not follow through on their commitments. And finally, she provides an example of a board that paired new board members with experienced board members to do fundraising. This is the fifth in my series of fundraising. In the first of the series, I shared a story about a successful capital campaign where a board member… Read more

Is Your Board Thankful?

Next week is Thanksgiving which got me thinking about thanking. Since I have been doing a series of posts on fundraising, I decided to focus on the role of board members in thanking donors. My first post on fundraising talked about a successful capital campaign and the many ways donors can make a stretch gift. My second fundraising post stressed the importance of connecting your organizations’ values to your fundraising efforts. My last post suggested ways to board members involved in fundraising and the role of the fund development committee chair in this effort. Have Board Members Thank Donors Every… Read more