Dig Deep Before Joining a Board

I did not ask to look at all of the financials. I just took their word that they were okay.  The organization was a passion project for its founders. They were in a period of their lives where they were asking: do they stop doing the work or do they ramp it up? At the same time, the organization received a large grant from a big foundation that was interested in building their capacity. The organization decided they would accept the grant, build a team, and use this generous gift to develop a strategy to double down on the work… Read more

How Board Members Can Influence Decisions. Illustration by Janet Levinger.

Build Trust and Focus on Values

As a board member, it is important to understand your role versus the role of the staff and the executive director. Every board struggles to find the right balance. Boards have fiduciary responsibility; they are legally responsible for the organization. They determine the vision and mission of the organization, they select and manage the executive director or CEO, they make sure the organization has adequate resources, and they set key strategies and policies. Board members should not be making daily decisions about programs or communications. That said, an organization often asks an individual to join their board because they have… Read more

Lack of Transparency Erodes Trust. Illustration by Janet Levinger.

Lack of Transparency Erodes Trust

For my first blog, I shared a story about a board chair who stepped up to help the Executive Director (ED) in time of important and impactful change. The organization successfully survived the change because of the trusting relationship between the board chair and the ED and because the board deeply supported the ED, going far beyond what they thought would be expected. For my second blog, I am sharing two stories by the same individual who notes that when a board chair or executive committee become too powerful, trust erodes. This individual shares their ideas about trust, transparency, and… Read more