Friday, February 25, 2011

Overheard: Feb. 25

Whew! My list of potential sources to share with you this week is a mile long. It was a rich week in Twitterville and the blogosphere! Here is a small sampling of the riches shared by others this week.

A new leadership mindset for scaling social change (Leadership for a New Era)

Boards don't talk enough about leadership. While this post isn't board-specific, it offers a great perspective on the kind of transformative leadership that is required to fulfill so many of our social change-driven missions. It's a thought provoking piece, worthy of sharing and discussion. (I'd definitely recommend downloading the accompanying article, too. They ask for minimal information, and you aren't obligated to accept their e-mail newsletter.)

Member engagement - sharing stories (Wild Apricot)

Maybe it's because I've had "stories on the brain" for awhile, but it seems like more writers are addressing their importance to nonprofits' efforts to communicate and advance their missions. This post provides a reader-friendly overview of why storytelling is important to our overall success.

How to use stories in nonprofit marketing (Maureen Carruthers)

Speaking of stories... Maureen's post views stories through a marketing lens, but the specific ideas she has for how to use stories in a nonprofit setting have broader appeal. It can see every scenario on her list applying to a setting where a board member is likely to find him/herself, and where a well-told story can have powerful impact. It's a fine companion piece to the Wild Apricot post, too.

Three things your vice president could do (Gayle Gifford)

So what does your VP do, anyway? If you dust off this person only to fill in when the president can't make a meeting, you're missing a significant opportunity to draw upon (and develop) this board officer's leadership. Gayle offers exactly what the title suggests: three meaningful roles, guiding three large and important tasks, that are of value to the board.

Stars, hearts, your brain and strategic planning (Tara Kirkland)

My ultimate recommendation on this one would be to purchase the book referenced in this post, so that you will have the full benefit of what is being shared. (It's one of the very best texts I've ever read on the topic of mission-driven nonprofit sustainability.) But what the writer shares here will be a nice start, outlining a taxonomy of nonprofit core activities that you may find useful. Really, though, get the book. It should be required reading for all nonprofit boards.

Episcopal Charities annual leadership conference Storify (@Eccsonline)

If you're not familiar with Twitter, the format of this series of tweets may be confusing. But I had to include it, simply because it contains so many gems that inspired me as I read them in real time. I don't even know who's behind the ECCSonline profile, but I gain something out of nearly everything he/she tweets during the day. In this case, the tweeter was providing backchannel coverage of the group's leadership event this week - in particular, a talk by Katherine Tyler Scott, an author I've long appreciated. (Her book, Creating Caring and Capable Boards, helped to shape my early understanding of what governance really involves.) It's hard to pick a handful of my personal favorites, but I'll try (Note: the shorthand nature is normal in Twitter - think 140 characters):
"Start your nonprofit board mtg w/story from org's history to help place current work in context of today's society."
"History is about meaning. Share yours regularly w/your board, staff, donors, volunteers. Yes, it's THAT important."
"Key point > Is your nonprofit board politically competent, knowing how to negotiate with key constituents, managing conflict?"

Oh, there are just too many possibilities there. I'd love to hear what your favorites are as you read the thread.

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