Friday, June 24, 2011

Overheard: June 24

I'll start this week's favorite links with a video from Team Strive, titled "Board meetings can be frustrating." It's simultaneously funny and depressing, because it's true.

The new generation of nonprofit leaders (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

This post also features a video: young nonprofit leaders sharing their thoughts, hopes and frustrations related to working in the sector. While not specifically board related, their message is one that boards need to hear. In sharing this, I'm not inviting you to micromanage staffing decisions. Rather, I encourage you to be mindful of the interests and concerns of your current and future organizational leaders, both staff and board. The reality is, "the way we've always done it" - particularly in terms of what we expect of our staff - is no longer a sustainable system (Not that it ever was. Ask the many Baby Boomers who burned out taking a 24/7 approach to their work.).

This one may feel entirely out of place in a listing of board resources, but there is a good reason I'm including it. I'm asking you to not critique this specific case, but to use this example as an opportunity to launch a discussion with our own board about the limits you (should) have regarding donations, partnerships, etc. What are the boundaries? How do your values help to define those boundaries?

Since I began this week's list on a potentially depressing note, I'll end with a resource that I hope will inspire and lead to greater capacity to serve. It's a follow-up to a link I shared in an earlier "overheard" post. In this offering, The Bridgespan Group continues the conversation about the need to devote attention to nurturing an environment of where learning is encouraged and where accountability is expected. As with so many of the resources I share, the author provides a service to readers by offering recommendations that break something as large and abstract as cultural change into something we can visualize as possible.

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