Do Not Surprise Your CEO or Board Chair

In my last post, I gave new Board Chairs some advice on how to be effective in their new roles. One point I made was to develop a good relationship with the CEO. Several readers asked for more information. So, this post will address the Board Chair- CEO relationship. At the high level, trust, transparency, and respect are key to this very important relationship. As Board Chair, you especially need to be humble. The CEO is the expert. And a goal for both is ensuring there are no surprises. For All Organizations As I noted in my last post, your… Read more

Advice for New Board Chair

Not long ago, a friend invited me to coffee – she had recently been elected to be Board Chair for a nonprofit. It was her first time as a Board Chair although she had been on this board for several years and had also served on other boards. She asked me if I had any advice for a new Chair. Here is what I shared: Don’t Act Alone Remember that while you can influence many things as Board Chair, you don’t have more power than anyone else on the board. You have one vote. Every board member has one vote.… Read more

Experienced Board Members Add Great Value

In my last post, I stated that sometimes being good leader is knowing when it is time to step back and allow others to lead. Some of the best leaders I know have graciously handed the reins to new people – often younger and more diverse people, though not always. These amazing people keep the mission of the organization at the forefront. They understand that fresh ideas and new voices are necessary to have the most impact. That said, long-time leaders also offer a huge amount to an organization. I would never advocate for an organization having all of its… Read more

Eight Things to Consider When Diversifying Your Board

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

How to Get Board Members to Fundraise? Engage Them in the Mission

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