Friday, January 20, 2012

Overheard: Jan. 20 edition

Leading this week's list of favorite nonprofit governance links is a video that, I must say, left me feeling pretty good about what I've been advocating in this space for the past five years.

Connections: Award-winning boards of directors (Center for Nonprofit Advancement)

Connections - Greenbrier Learning Center from DCTV on Vimeo.

Listening to representatives of the Greenbrier Learning Center describe the innovative practices that keep its award-winning board on track sparked a series of "Yes!" and "I told you so...." responses for this viewer. It takes a bit of time to get to the substance of the interview (10 minutes in), but when you arrive you'll be treated to a description of a board that successfully focuses its energies on the important work that ties them to their motivations for service. You will hear - wait for it - about meetings that open with learning moments (I leaped from my chair when I heard that one) and that clear space for meaningful discussions by using consent agendas. The entire interview spotlights what can happen when a board is tied to what is important - to their organization, to their community, and to the board members themselves. It shows us what is possible when we engage our boards purposefully.

Quit complaining: Best practices for nonprofit board learning (Renee McGivern)

Part of me hesitates to share this one, because I'm Renee's interviewee. But the topic of this audio podcast will be of interest to many readers, and it helped me think more deliberately about board orientation processes (likely leading to my next post). We covered a lot of board learning ground in this 45-minute interview, primarily on the processes that underpin the way we orient new members to the organization and  their roles. There are a couple of ways to access this interview: via this website and via the Nonprofit Spark podcast in iTunes. Both offer download options.

Youth board members: Can minors serve on a nonprofit board? (Emily Chan)

One of my favorite nonprofit legal experts, Emily Chan, addresses a question that many boards ask: Can we include youth members and, if so, what are the issues we need to be aware of up front? Having a credible legal perspective on the question is a major service to her readers. Equally valuable is her comprehensive approach to covering a range of considerations for a board. Emily extends beyond the legal bottom line to encourage boards to look deeply at their motivations and the very real consequences of engaging youth members.

Earned income 101 for nonprofits (Gene Takagi)

Emily's legal partner, Gene Takagi, recently presented a terrific webinar on a topic that may be new to many boards - earned income. The gift to us all is this recorded version (and accompanying slides). If earned income is a part of your nonprofit's revenue, or if you're considering earned income as a potential addition to your revenue mix, Gene's presentation will help you better understand the parameters under which you can work. It's a challenging topic, made more accessible, thanks to Gene.

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