We were on a staff retreat and the facilitator had asked us all to produce one thing that was on our persons or in our pocketbooks or wallets that was meaningful to us. She asked us each to share with the rest of the group what item we had chosen and why it was important to us.
Others on the staff had chosen their wedding rings, pictures of their children, lockets or charm bracelets passed down from grandmothers. I felt a little sheepish and silly, like I hadn’t really gotten the point of the exercise, when it was my time to share because I had picked…
With the publication last week of BoardSource’s updated Ten Basic Responsibilities of Board Members, I’ve been thinking a lot about Crutchfield and Grant’s seminal Forces for Good book. The Ten Basic Responsibilities of Board Members list of the core, fundamental, legal responsibilities of a Board member has been gospel for all of us for many years. Most of us have relied on this list to orient our board members and to explain board members’ responsibilities for new members.
When BoardSource changed this list last week, BoardSource didn’t make the number of items on the list longer, but what it did do is determine that ADVOCACY is a core responsibility of Board Members. The responsibility to advocate for the mission is added to the first core responsibility (to determine an organization’s mission and purpose) and discussions of advocacy are added to several other responsibilities such as the responsibility to enhance an organization’s public standing.
I’ve just finished reading Wayne Elsey’s new book The Rise and Fall of Charities in the 21st Century: How the Nonprofit World Is Changing and What You Can Do To Be Ready (2015).
The argument Elsey makes—that nonprofit organizations (in general) have failed, are failing, or are being forced by competition from new philanthropic models like social enterprise to innovate or close is not a new argument, nor is it an argument that Elsey makes alone. See, for example, my discussion here of Paul Klein’s call in the Stanford Social Innovation Review earlier this year for an end of corporate social responsibility because, he asserts, corporations can do philanthropy better than nonprofits . I’d like to respond to a couple of common criticisms running through the arguments of Elsey, Klein, and others.
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