Friday, May 11, 2012

Overheard: May 9 edition

This week's favorite governance links are a mix of new offerings, creative stretches and old resources that must be shared.

Why boards don't govern (Jan Masaoka & Mike Allison)

I generally try to lean toward the positive and aspirational in what I share here, and the title of this article (direct link to PDF file provided) suggests a departure. But this Grassroots Fundraising article simply must be shared, because it tackles some of governance's most massive challenges head-on. It's a convicting piece. I recognized too many of the issues in my own experiences as a board member and in the stories boards have shared with me. I can pretty much guarantee you'll recognize one - or 12 - of these as you read the article. Understanding where the obstacles lie is an essential step to doing things differently.

Different asking styles (Movie Mondays video)

One of the biggest hurdles for board members taking an active role in your fundraising process inevitably is that big, scary, dreaded step: actually asking someone for a contribution. This video helps board members, and staff, understand that there are different ways to participate in that process (and different ways to ask). Watching it may not create an instantly enthusiastic band of salespersons, but it might provide a launching point for discussing how each can play a role that is both comfortable for the individual member and supportive of your overall development effort.

Hall pass - Permission slip to dream big dreams (Kevin Monroe)

In this latest post, Kevin offers yet another frame for encouraging our nonprofit leaders to stretch their thinking and focus toward what is possible. Boards shouldn't need permission - or reminders that their attention ultimately belongs on the future. But this post does a nice job of reinforcing (or introducing) that message.

Five moments of learning need (Cammy Bean)

(I love when adult educator me and nonprofit board developer me collide...) Though not addressing nonprofit learning specifically, I tagged this post as one to share with you. Why? It reinforces the idea that adult learners (e.g., nonprofit board members) have pretty specific kinds of learning needs and openings for when that learning takes place. Practically speaking, Cammy says, those opportunities arise in five scenarios. What do each of those learning points look like for your board? Is one scenario more common or pressing for you? How can you better prepare to adapt and respond to those needs, when the learning will be most meaningful?

Things we've learned: Vision matters (Gayle Gifford)

Because it's really not possible to overemphasize vision, I'll close this week's offerings with an inspirational post from Gayle, reminding us about why we serve. No, we can't ignore the pressing concerns of the day. No, we can't set aside our accountability responsibilities in the name of wild dreams of the future. But none of it matters if we're not attentive to the ultimate purpose - the meaningful difference made in the community because our organization exists. In the process, we connect individual members to why they said yes in the first place.

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