Friday, March 25, 2011

Overheard: March 25

In a week filled with governance-focused goodness, four posts stand out as essential board reading.

The nonprofit board's mission mandate (Kevin Monroe)

This may be my all-time favorite post by Kevin. It articulates so brilliantly the critical importance of centering governance in the mission. He takes it a step further, though, in sharing real, meaningful ways to make it part of the board's routine and its very being as a leadership group. These aren't of the "X easy tips to..." variety, but significant ways to center the board in the organization's purpose.

Getting board members to give (June Bradham)

The headline fails to spotlight the ultimate message of this wonderful post. How often do we stop to ask what it is that our board members really want from their generous contributions of leadership, talent and time? June asked the question and emerged with "nine truths about what board members really want from their experience." The simplicity of that list is striking. Every "truth" is absolutely attainable, if we make the investment in our board members that they deserve. We fail them - and our organizations - if we do not make the effort to understand what drives individuals to serve and provide that fuel for effective governance.

Engage your board sooner (Alice Korngold)

One of the most essential roles of governance is accountability for the financial health of the organization. It's also probably the area where boards are most tentative and least likely to embrace their legitimate leadership role. Alice summarizes perfectly survey data that make the case for pushing boards to engage early and deeply in understanding and accepting their fiduciary responsibilities.

The 2 hats board members wear (501 Videos)

Is selling raffle tickets part of the board's job? How about working the registration desk at your annual fundraiser? Volunteering to take a hotline shift? Board members' generosity in donating time to a cause about which they are passionate is not uncommon. But not all of that work qualifies as governance, and the blurring of the lines can be incredibly problematic. This video does a good job of raising the question and offering insight into how to handle the potentially tricky divide.

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