Thursday, June 14, 2012

When nonprofit boards succeed...

If we were 100 percent successful, what would our community look like? What would be different? For whom?"
-- Hildy Gottlieb

My friend Hildy has an uncanny knack for getting right to what really matters while simultaneously stretching us farther than most of us imagine possible. This quote/question is one I keep on the wall above my office desk, to remind me to ask these critical questions every day. What really is the point of the work that we do? What impact do we ultimately make on those around us?

While this particular quote resonates in all areas of my life, its greatest power lies in the context in which I first heard it posed: the work of nonprofit boards.

As you might suspect, I've developed a few ideas of my own as I've reflected on Hildy's multi-part question over the last two years. But rather than share them today, I'm more interested in hearing your perspectives. What ultimately is possible if our nonprofit boards succeed in advancing our respective visions and missions? If they are focused on the big questions and are motivated to lead toward the ideal horizon we've identified?

How will our communities, however we define them, be better because we embraced the power and responsibility that comes with nonprofit governance? How will our world change if we rise to our leadership potential?

Whether you respond as a member of a specific board or as someone who sees the potential of governing bodies across the sector, I'd appreciate having the chance to hear and share your response to Hildy's important question. The value of this post will come in the conversation that it sparks. Please take a moment to comment, to read and respond to others' comments, and help us generate a collective vision of the true potential of nonprofit governance.


Sandra Feinsmith said...

If board members truly embrace their role in organizations and bring their experience and passion to the table, the things the org will able to accomplish will be amazing. I am hopeful that board members see how critical their nonprofit role is to the success of organization. Personally I have seen a change in the past three years of the level of involvement of the board members in nfps.

Debra Beck, EdD said...

Sandra, I completely agree: the transformative potential - especially for the organization - is huge. The fact that you can attest to that via personal experience is extremely powerful. If you'd be willing to share a glimpse of what that looked like, and how it shaped your understanding and motivation as a board member, I'd be most grateful.

Nikki said...
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