The Journey to a More Diverse Board

I shared this story about creating a more diverse board about 18 months ago. Before COVID, which disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. Before the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, which sparked protests and drew the world’s attention to longstanding systemic health and social inequities in our society. Most nonprofit organizations have understood these inequities. Many have centered racial justice in their missions for a long time. But now all understand the urgency to remove barriers. They also understand that making change starts at the top. Recently, several people have asked me about how to… Read more

Now Is the Time to Take Brave Stands

Today’s post is an inspiring story about an organization that came to see advocacy as part of the solution for its population. The staff person who shared the story outlines how the organization and the board evolved to embrace advocacy and describes a brave moment when they realized they had to put their population before personal issues. This staffer makes an impassioned call in these unprecedented times to bring advocacy up a notch and to take risks to support your population – even if you might fail. This post is the fifth in a series about advocacy. In my last… Read more

10 Ways to Be an Effective Advocate

This post is the fourth in a series about board members advocating on behalf of the organizations they support and the people those organizations serve. I reached out to three elected officials and asked them what works best for them. Everyone I spoke to is from the Seattle area (where I live), but none are my own elected officials. Instead I have served on nonprofit boards with each of them. In my last post, Judy Reckelhoff, Chief of Staff for BoardSource, describes why BoardSource has elevated advocacy. In the previous post, I shared an Advocacy Check List compiled from interviews… Read more

Stand for Your Mission

Black Lives Matter. The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery have opened the door for real change. None of us can individually break down the structural and institutional barriers in our country. But we all can and must use the power and influence we do have to create change. As a board member, you can remove barriers in your organization and in your sector. One way to do this is to use your voice to influence public policy and funding. Recent events amplify the need for all of us to speak up now and… Read more

COVID Advice: Act Quickly and Plan for a Marathon

I have been thinking about the last crisis in 2008, how it impacted nonprofit organizations, and what lessons could be learned. I reached out to several people who I thought would provide good perspective, people who have served on many boards and as funders. In this post, they offer their insights from the last crisis as well as thoughts about this one. I interviewed in alphabetical order: (See bios below.) Robbie Bach, former President of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft and currently a speaker, author, consultant, and nonprofit board member. Michael Brown, Chief Architect of Civic Commons at… Read more