Should You Have Agendas for Board Meetings?

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

Changing Aspirations Is Hard

I spoke to a CEO who was brought in to make changes. The organization was being passed over for funding. The previous CEO had been there a long time, had created an aspirational vision for the organization, and was well liked by staff. Board and staff had embraced the aspirational goals of the previous CEO. The new CEO had to lead board and staff to embrace a new vision. Be Clear About a New CEO’s Mandate As told by a nonprofit CEO somewhere in the USA. When you come into a job as a new CEO, there are all kinds… Read more

Involve Your Board, Don’t Push Them Away!

In this unprecedented time, how is your organization treating its board members? What can and should board members be doing to support your organization now? I have spoken to a handful of board members in the last couple weeks. These have been casual conversations as we all check in on each other. I have heard two very different scenarios. Increase Reliance on Your Board in a Time of Crisis In one group, board members feel their organization’s staff and leadership have reached out to the board and all are working together on short- and long-term planning. Staff at some front-line… Read more

How to Prepare for a Successful Donor Ask

In this post, I share a story from a fundraising professional about the importance of preparation to making a successful ask. He describes how he tries to identify the best person to make each ask and then thoroughly prepares for each meeting so the asker – whether it is a board member, the ED, or someone else – is confident in their role. This post is the latest in my series about fundraising for nonprofit organizations. Other posts include: Successful Fundraising Requires a Great Story Fundraising Strategies for Large Institutions Organizing for Fundraising Success Having Board Members Thank Donors Role… 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