Impact, Advocacy, and Board Responsibility

Impact, Advocacy, and Board Responsibility

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.

How to Have Your Board Members Begging to Come Back

How to Have Your Board Members Begging to Come Back

How to Have Your Board Members Begging to Come Back

Russell, my husband and business partner who primarily works for the camping and retreat ministries of the United Methodist Church, made an off-hand comment in the car the other day. He mentioned that he was about to go do exit interviews with two of his board members who had completed their terms and rotated off the board and that both of them, in setting up the appointments, had said that they missed serving on the board so much, they hardly knew what to do.  Imagine, having board members dying to come back on board!

On his way to interview them, I gave him some questions to ask so that we could all gain some insight about factors contribute to their board service being such positive experiences. This is what he learned from these interviews about what they felt was important to creating a great board culture:

Career Advice for Nonprofit Professionals

Career Advice for Nonprofit Professionals

In the nonprofit sector, we nonprofit professionals apply for positions in the nonprofit sector. We have experience with nonprofit jobs.  Because we’re nonprofit professionals with nonprofit experience, applying for nonprofit jobs, we assume that the people who are reviewing our resumes understand what our titles and positions mean and entail.  They don’t.  Even if we list our accomplishments, they don’t get it.  Too often, board members are hiring or sitting on the search committees that hire us. Those board members are almost always business people who don’t understand what’s involved in our jobs.

Nonprofit Boards and the Dysfunctions of Team

Nonprofit Boards and the Dysfunctions of Team

Nonprofit Board members are unprepared to govern.  That’s the finding of the 2015 Survey on Board of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations, a study released in April jointly conducted by GuidestarBoardSource, and the Stanford Business School.

What remedies would we pursue if we were to view the breakdowns in our systems of nonprofit governance as failures of the early stages of team building rather than as the [later] results of process and outcomes failures? 

Breakfast Briefings Can Open Doors

Early requests for sponsorship support were disappointing.  One company’s response was typical, “How come, if you’ve been serving the community for 23 years, we’ve never heard of you before?”

Not promising as far as beginnings of sponsorship campaigns go.

The organization needed to re-introduce itself to the community.  We decided to hold a Corporate Breakfast.