It's another "cornucopia"-themed week of resources, a mix of the thought-provoking and the practical. Let's start with a couple of the latter.
Board FriendRaising Action Toolkit (Hildy Gottlieb)
I've downloaded and used this free toolkit from my friend, Hildy, and I recommend it. Ultimately, I'd want to sweet-talk you into ordering her book, Friendraising, which is chock-full of ideas for, and examples of, ways for board members to engage others for your mission. But this toolkit offers a good overview that you can easily share and discuss with your board.
12 ways to liven up your board meetings - and your board (Gail Perry)
No item on this list would qualify as particularly earth-shaking. But often the most basic changes carry potential to shift the tone and outcomes for a board. Adopting even one of Gail's suggestions may lead to meaningful change in the way your board works.
9 big board questions (Nick Fellers)
I'll take any chance to share questions that help nonprofit boards focus on their governance responsibilities. This list of nine by Nick Fellers offers exactly that. Boards that are "too busy" for governance could set aside time in a meeting to pose one of these questions. (Or, even better yet, they could adjust their view of why they exist.) Boards also could draw upon these questions as Fellers suggests: to create a different - and ultimately more fruitful - kind of retreat experience, focused where boards should be focused.
Daring to Lead 2011 (CompassPoint)
This national study focused on sector executive leadership should be required reading for all nonprofit boards. The picture painted isn't pretty, but it points out challenges that require board attention. Be sure to click the "boards" tab on the page for specific (and convicting) data related specifically to the issues that nonprofit executives report having with the other half of their leadership team.
Ten myths about nonprofit boards (Jan Masaoka)
Have you heard any of these myths? What are the impacts of buying into any of them? What happens when a board accepts any of them as true? Jan, as always, expands our thinking about nonprofits and, specifically, about nonprofit boards.