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Fundraising and Values

In my last post, I shared a story about a successful capital campaign where volunteer board members learned the many options for making a stretch gift. In this post, I also share a success story, where a board felt more comfortable about fundraising when the organization’s values were linked to the fund development plan. Fundraising Does Not Have to Undermine Your Values By a Volunteer Board Member Somewhere in the US I have been on many boards and done a lot of fundraising both as a volunteer and as a professional. I was on the board of an organization that… Read more

Fundraising

This post is the first in a series about fundraising. Fundraising is an important responsibility of every board. But it is also a tricky one because most people don’t like to fund raise. I talked to a handful of board members and nonprofit staff to ask them about the role of the board in fundraising. The answers are varied and depend on the size and the age of the organization and the capabilities of staff and board members. Notably – and not surprisingly – when I did outreach for stories about boards in general, I got dozens of stories. But… Read more

How Do You Know That?

After my last post which encouraged board members to ask hard questions, several readers asked what questions? Board members need full information to make good decisions. And that means asking lots and lots of questions – the ones that break out of group think, that uncover hidden issues, and that get to the essence of unseen problems or opportunities.  I started brainstorming questions and came up with a very long list. So, I decided instead to share just a few really key questions. I organized them in five areas: finance, program, funding, staff, and board. But you will see that… Read more

The Story of a Controlling CEO and a Weak Board

Organizations can have great CEOs and weak CEOs and manipulative CEOs. Organizations can have strong boards and weak boards. In today’s post, a former staff person describes an organization with possibly the worst combination — a controlling CEO and a weak board. The story also raises the question of intersectionality. Is it distracting for a woman’s organization to analyze data about women of color, women with disabilities, gay women, rural women, poor women? Does intersectionality diminish the focus on women? This staff person insists – and I agree – that if you don’t address intersectionality, if you don’t dig deeply… Read more

Board Chairs Should Keep Full Board Informed

Challenges arise in every organization and with every board. If you are the board chair, you have to decide what to bring to the full board. As chair, you don’t want to cause panic when a situation can be easily handled. But you also have to remember that the board chair does not have more power than the rest of the board and that the full board has fiduciary responsibility for the organization. Other board members cannot exercise this responsibility if they don’t know what is going on. Plus, we all work to bring great people onto a board. The… Read more