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

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

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