Friday, April 15, 2011

Overheard: April 15

Sharing a few of my favorite governance links from the week...

I've been waiting all week to share this "Movie Monday" video. It's hard not to catch Gail Perry's enthusiasm as she outlines ways to ignite our boards' passion for our organizations and their leadership. At the root of her seven recommendations are two things: bringing board members closer to the mission and helping them articulate their personal connections to that purpose.

Whew! I was fatigued just reading Gayle's list of the kinds of expectations we frequently place on board members. Nothing on that list surprised - and I'm sure each reader could identify responsibilities that she's left off. My own takeaway from this was twofold: we need to be clear in articulating our full range of expectations long before a prospect becomes a board member; and we need to have serious, ongoing conversations about whether we are ultimately using board member time/expertise as productively as possible.  I'd also attempt to include those invisible expectations that we know exist in that conversation. Yes, the fact they are "invisible" make them more challenging to articulate. But the group reflection and honest discussion that that requires will be healthy, regardless of what emerges. You may also be surprised about what board members reveal as expectations - perceived or real - that add to their challenge.

This one isn't governance-specific, but the information shared will be valuable background for the board's boundary-spanning responsibilities. I bookmarked this one to share the link toward the top of the page (to a PDF download describing the roles that nonprofits play in community life), but all three reports linked there will be valuable for the same reason. The sector as a whole, and nonprofit leaders, need to do a much better job of describing exactly how we individually and collectively contribute to a stronger, more vital society. A large part of their failure to do so is likely that they simply have no idea. Independent Sector continues to be a great resource for understanding the big picture and the integral ways in which nonprofits make this world a better place in which to live.

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