Friday, July 30, 2010

LBLP now on Facebook

Two posts beg to be written, and they will - soon. Preparations for the Montreal workshop and the 2010 Snowy Range Nonprofit Institute, which begins Sunday night, have dominated my time and focus this week. At least one will be posted this weekend, I promise!

In the meantime, I want to share a bit of news: the Laramie Board Learning Project now has a Facebook presence. In addition to extending the blog's visibility, I created this space to provide room for sharing resources, talking about boards, and otherwise building a bit of a governance community in a setting where board members are already interacting.

If you're on Facebook, please "like" the page and join what I hope will become a wide-ranging, international resource for building board capacity.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Request for feedback: How boards learn to govern

Today, I come to readers of this blog with a personal request. Next week, I head to Montreal for two events. One is the inaugural meeting of the international Study Group on Governance Relationships and Dynamics. This workshop will bring together scholars who study nonprofit boards to talk about the issues of governance and explore ways to collaborate on research and writing that benefit practitioners and volunteers who serve on our governing bodies.

I am co-facilitating a part of that conversation, on how we define governance. My special focus is what all of this means in the field, to people who actually are serving on nonprofit boards. As someone whose feet dangle in both worlds, I pretty much know that a "real world" perspective on what boards are doing and facing would be an immensely valuable thing and an important contribution to the conversation.

I have a lot of good feedback from several wonderful consultant friends who responded to earlier queries. But I really need more data from board members (current or former) and executive directors who work with and support boards. Here's the two-part question:
  • How do/did you learn to be a board member (what kinds information about the job were shared, how were you oriented, who provided the information/experience, etc.) and
  • How was the job defined for you (what were the essential tasks described, what were the qualifications, etc.)?
Would you be willing to share your thoughts and experiences with this group? Obviously, this isn't 'scientific' inquiry (though it would be a wonderful research question for the group to study). But I'd like to gather more data and anecdotes from individuals who have served. Your experiences as a board member - current or former - is extremely helpful. The ED's experience, as someone who helps orient members and supports board development, also is a valuable contribution to the discussion.

Please share your thoughts in a comment to this post. I'll take them to Canada with me, to help provide a "real world" understanding of how we learn to govern.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Board criteria: Must haves, would be nice(s?)

I'll write about these lists (and the event in which they were generated) later; but I'm anxious to share them, both with participants in yesterday's board recruitment roundtable and readers of this blog.

(Note: Click on pics to see enlarged view)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Webinar: Building your board

Fellow board blogger Anne Ackerson shares her wisdom with the world via an archived version of a webinar she recently conducted for the New York State Council of the Arts, titled "Fulfilling a Role of Just Filling a Seat: Developing Your Board's Capital in Challenging Times."

The treat for me: getting to hear Anne's voice and witnessing her board development skills in action. The treat for you if you choose to watch or listen to the webinar: access to a wealth of knowledge and field-based experience on maintaining board capacity and commitment amidst the daily challenges you face.

It's a recording of a live event, with a bit of introductory talk up front. Listening past that, to get to Anne's workshop, is worth the wait.

Anne's session also demonstrates that distance delivery methods can be used effectively to access board development and other learning opportunities targeting nonprofit audiences. In a geographically vast state like Wyoming, we need to be creating more of these paths to professional development.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Beginning with 'why'

With which does your organization begin:


This video, featuring Simon Sinek, describes perfectly why it matters. How would your board lead differently if it acted as if this were true in your organization?