Friday, January 28, 2011

Overheard: Jan. 28

Here are a few of the links and sources that stretched or informed my thinking about nonprofit governance, courtesy of peers on Twitter and fellow bloggers:

Are you ready for a nonprofit board: Ten questions to consider (Alice Korngold)

Alice's latest contribution to the field is this excellent list of questions for board prospects. What I love about this list is its coverage of not only the obvious, resume-builder kinds of considerations, but those potential challenges (are you patient?) and rewards (do you want to be a role model?) that come with the position.

Role of the nonprofit board fundraising committee (Carter McNamara)

I imagine that this one stirred up more than a few people, particularly those who staff or lead small nonprofits where boards are expected to take a very hands-on role. Carter gets right to the point of the board's (and the fundraising committee's) ultimate responsibility in fundraising: ensuring that it is done right. His list of potential tasks related to that responsibility is likely to be quite eye-opening to many boards.

The dialogue of the board
(Anne Ackerson)

Anne offers several workable, and potentially powerful, ways to encourage boards to interact in meaningful and mission-focused ways. I particularly appreciate the practicality in what she describes: any board could easily introduce one or more of these processes to meeting agendas and likely see almost immediate impact. The potential to impact the board's culture (toward governance accountability, mission focus and learning) is particularly strong.

The five disciplines of organizational learning
(Jay Cross)

I wear my adult educator hat when sharing this one. I've followed Peter Senge's work (including Fifth Discipline and related publications) on organizational learning but have not really spent time applying this framework to nonprofit governance. I bookmarked this post for sharing here as a prompt to me to do some thought work on this and to invite comment on whether you see this being potentially useful in conceptualizing a culture of learning within boards.

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