Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Volunteerism Data Released

Hot off the virtual presses are new (2007) data on volunteerism in the United States.

Released July 28 by the Corporation for National & Community Service, the reports offer national data. They also offer state-by-state profiles. Wyoming's profile is accessible here. Our home state can take pride in its national volunteerism ranking (12th) and the rate at which our citizens volunteer (35.1 percent). According to the report, 142,000 Wyoming residents contributed 17 MILLION hours of service per year between 2005 and 2007. Estimated economic contribution of all of that time is $332 million per year.

For national data, click here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SRNI: Y'all Come!

I've been lamenting the lack of time this week to sit down and write something, when I realized that the big challenge for the task is exactly what I should be sharing with you.

The 2008 Snowy Range Nonprofit Institute is just around the corner -- Aug. 3-5 in our hometown (Hilton Garden Inn and UW Convention Center, Laramie). As I've been finalizing details and writing releases on each of the incredible sessions we're offering, my own excitement has grown. I'm confident that this year's participants will leave the institute with not only a stronger understanding of multi-generational volunteer leadership challenges and opportunities facing the sector, but that they will be inspired to act to ensure that their own organizations are prepared for success in the future.

A visit to our institute website will yield several things:
  • All those session descriptions (click on the "News" link)
  • Access to our new institute blog (click on the "Blog" link)
  • Downloadable and online copies of our agenda
  • An opportunity to register online (via the "Register" link)
Sessions that may be of particular interest to nonprofit board members would be Mary Ellbogen Garland's opening talk on "Leading for Mission," Phil Van Horn's workshop on "Becoming Better Volunteer Leaders" (focus on boards), Terry Galpin-Plattner's roundtable on "Nonprofit Life Cycles," Randy Bruns' workshop on "The Threat and the Opportunity for Hiring the Next Generation of Nonprofit Leaders," and Sparky Turner's closing conversation on "Organizational Mission -- Passion to Action."

Early bird registration deadline is 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 25. But later registrations are welcome as well. (You'll save $25 if you register by Friday, though.)

This is an excellent opportunity to look into the future and to take a proactive approach to building your organization's capacity.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

‘Great Boards’ offers committee evaluation resource

One of my favorite online newsletters devoted to nonprofit governance issues is Great Boards, published by Bader & Associates.

While devoted primarily to health care boards, many of the articles translate well to any nonprofit setting. I usually find something of value in every new issue.

The Summer 2008 edition is no exception. In fact, the entire special edition, on “Evaluating and Improving Board Committees,” probably should be required reading for any nonprofit board.

There are two things I appreciate about this issue, which was written by Barry S. Bader and Elaine Zablocki:
  • They offer both the context for evaluation and recommendations for both general questions about the committee process and specific questions related to its responsibilities. While the contexts and questions represent their target audience (hospital boards), they should provide good springboards for adapting to other nonprofit settings.
  • The committees they highlight are directly related to the governance function of boards, versus the all-too-common staff functions. A board that focuses its work on these areas increases the likelihood that it is fulfilling its responsibilities and impacting the organization’s future in a positive way. My favorite committee outlined: Community Benefit/Mission. A board can never focus too much on mission!
To read the special issue, visit this website:

Click on the “Print entire issue” link for the Summer 2008 issue.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sharing Resources

One of my primary goals for this blog is providing a place to share great resources that nonprofits may find useful in their daily work.

I'll be writing about, and linking to, specific websites, articles, books, etc., in future posts. But to lay the foundation, I want to share my social bookmarking site

which I offer as a clearinghouse for the online gems I encounter daily. On the righthand side of the page, you'll find "tags" -- the topics I've used to categorize each resource. If you're interested, for example, in finding tools related to governance, you can access some of my favorite online resources related to that topic by clicking on the word itself.

I invite you to bookmark this site and encourage you to visit often, particularly when you have a question about nonprofit management and leadership. It's my gift to you, one I'm constantly updating to increase its value.