Friday, December 28, 2012

Big, burning board questions for 2013

What are the big questions that nonprofit boards will be (or should be) facing in the year ahead?

As I try on my different board hats - member, blogger, educator, facilitator - in the waning days of 2012, these are the questions that feel most compelling. What would you add to the list?

Board-Level
  • What board focus/activities will bring us - and our community - closer to our vision of a better future by the end of the year?
  • How will we stay focused on that visionary work in the next 12 months (and beyond)?
  • What are the unique stories that we can tell as board members, and how can we share them with the stakeholder groups that most need to hear them?
  • How will we demonstrate our stewardship of community resources that have been entrusted to the agency, to internal and external audiences?  
  • What do we need to understand this year to govern more effectively? How will we build learning that creates and deepens that understanding into our work?
  • How can we clear space for open-ended, future-focused discussions in our meetings?

Individual-Level
  • What do I want my legacy to be on this board, and what actions/commitments do I need to make in 2012 to ensure that contribution (especially for boards)?
  • What do I most need, from my fellow board members and the agency, to maintain my highest level of motivation?
  • With whom can I share our story, to increase community engagement with our mission and our agency? How will I make those contacts?
  
Sector-Level
  • What can the sector do to increase public respect, visibility and accountability of board service?
  • How do we reframe the practical definition (in terms of where boards actually focus) of nonprofit governance as something more than oversight - as community and organizational leadership?
  • What professional development opportunities and resources do boards need to lead, and how can we make them accessible to all?
  • How can we finally frame and support board diversity in ways that are meaningful and that avoid tokenism?
  • How do we help nonprofit boards own the future they are helping to create?

2 comments:

Marion Conway said...

Thanks Debra, For this excellent thought provoking post. I would add at Board level:

How can we best adapt to change?

I think this is such an important question as too many Boards are not facing not only the realities of changed funding but of clients interests and needs,value of partnerships, the effectiveness of new approaches and technology ...plus more in each individual case.

Marion

Debra Beck, EdD said...

Perfection, Marion. Perfection. The capacity to evolve - to adapt - to the the realities that nonprofits face absolutely belongs on the agenda and minds of nonprofit board members. It's also where they have the biggest potential to make an impact: anticipating that future and meeting it in proactive ways. Thanks!