Thursday, November 3, 2011

Overheard: Nov. 4 catch-up

I've saved so many great governance-related resources since my last "overheard" post in July that I'll never be able to catch up. I undoubtedly will leave out links that will have the ultimate answer to your burning board question. For that, I am sorry. 

In the spirit of re-launching this regular feature and getting back on track, though, I'll pick a handful of highlights from the last month. I may post a bonus "overheard" at some point, digging a little further back from the summer.

Treating board members as major gift donors (Movie Mondays)

One of the reasons this video resonated is the underlying message that we absolutely must hear: the need to respect board members for all of their contributions. That theme will ring familiar if you've read my more recent posts. In an environment where the more dominant focus is on the ways in which boards fail, any reminder of the significant gifts that individual members (and the group as a whole) share with our nonprofits.

The governance/support model for nonprofit boards (Jan Masaoka)

In this one important post, Jan solves one of the bigger puzzles of board life: when are members governing and when are they supporting the agency? Committed individuals who serve on your board will engage in both at some point, but boundaries can be blurred in tricky ways simply because of their status as organizational leaders. In this marvelous entry, Jan offers an at-a-glance tool for recognizing where a specific activity might lie. More important, she opens the door for a critical conversation that every board must have.

Is your board suffering from burnout? (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

If your board is burned out, this survey probably is a moot point. You know it. You see it. You feel it. But this quick set of questions can provide a basic framework for discussing the challenges that contribute to this state.

Who's really in charge of board performance? (Rick Moyers)

This Chronicle post would spark another important discussion: who's really responsible for ensuring that the board stays on track? There's the textbook answer to that question, then there's reality. Moyers' post acknowledges the reality: that the executive ultimately carries a significant burden for keeping his/her lead volunteers focused.

Board recruitment - don't expect the "fully loaded baked potato" at first (Marion Conway)

New members need time to ease into board service: to understand their duties, the structures and programs of the organization, and the way the group interacts. It's not an overnight process, as much as we'd like to think it is - or that we would like to have happen. Marion describes several factors for success in recruitment and orientation, to help ensure a successful start to service.

A tale of two boards: Stewards of IMPACT (Kevin Monroe)

How do we know we're having a positive impact on our community? In many respects, that's the ultimate question (and driving force) of nonprofit governance. In this post, Kevin shares tips and a series of questions designed to foster discussion and identify evidence that the nonprofit's programs actually make a difference.

Got the Boardroom Blues? (Brown Dog Consulting)

And, finally, for a little Friday levity, here's a video that will resonate with most everyone who's ever served on a board. It's both funny and depressing, because it's true.

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