Everyone wants to diversify their boards. Having a diverse board, especially one with people who have lived experience around your mission, will help you make better decisions. Here are some things to think about: Think Broadly. Think of diversity in the broadest sense – ability, age, ethnicity, gender identity, geography, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. All of these areas can enrich your discussions and add important perspective. Depending on your mission, some may be more critical than others. Remember too that just because someone is white, male, or older does not mean that they are bad board members.… Read more
Let's start a conversation: How can boards be most effective? What lessons — good and bad — have you learned from your experiences?
I interviewed Hal Abrams, a major gift consultant, about how to involve board members in fundraising. He said the first step is to engage them in the mission. Tell me about what you do. Many organizations live hand to mouth off their gala or just one big push. As a major gift consultant, I try to help nonprofits be more efficient with their time and change their processes to build relationships with donors and to help donors accomplish their philanthropic goals. What role do board members have in fundraising? Board members have an important role in fundraising. But I think… Read more
In this post, I share how a diverse board handles some different cultural norms around agendas and meetings. It’s a good lesson about being transparent and inclusive. How One Board Changed the Way Agendas Were Developed and Meetings Were Run Told by a Board Chair somewhere in the US Many years ago, I was board chair of a small nonprofit that had a very diverse board. At one meeting, a board member suggested that we not use agendas. He said that there were cultures where following a strict agenda was uncomfortable and — to respect those individuals — we should… Read more
In a similar theme to my last post where a nonprofit CEO discusses the stresses of being remote, in this story, a nonprofit board chair shares how she discovered that the best way to solve issues between people is to pick up the phone, schedule a zoom call, or meet in person to talk things through. She reflects that we have gotten out of the habit of interacting in real time, instead relying on email which can be easily misinterpreted. She also notes that going forward it is important to create times for casual personal interactions. We Need to Stay… Read more
A CEO described the stress on individuals and organizations of being remote. They noted that it led to lack of trust, rumors getting out of control, and very transactional relationships. They saw how people would reach out only if there was a reason to. The informal interactions in the office or over dinner – the ones that build empathy, connection, and trust — are missing. Since many companies will continue to be remote or hybrid, addressing these issues is important. COVID Stress Makes Staff Feel Overwhelmed and Inadequate As told by a nonprofit CEO somewhere in the US I am… Read more