Monday, May 5, 2014

The nonprofit board chairperson experience: National survey seeks your feedback

What is it like to serve as a nonprofit board chairperson/president? What are the challenges? Where are the key forms of support? How are these board leaders prepared to serve?

Those are the kinds of questions that my Alliance for Nonprofit Management research teammates and I are hoping to answer - with your help - via a major national survey now underway.  

Sponsored by ANM's Governance Affinity Group, the study seeks to hear directly from board chairs about the experience. While we are still immersed in literature review, I can tell you that going straight to the source - those who lead our boards - seems to be a fairly big piece of the research puzzle being filled.

While helping you is the normal mode for this space, today I'm asking for reader support. To increase its informative value, we need to put this survey into the in-boxes of as many nonprofit board chairs as possible. That person could be you. It could be the chair of your own board. It could be a friend of colleague who serves on another local board. It may be several board leaders in a nonprofit network of which you are a member.

Would you help us get the word out? Would you encourage the board chairs in our circle of influence to participate?

I'm particularly interested in generating a strong showing from the Rocky Mountain region and other rural communities. Early responses have come largely from the two coasts. While it's a great thing to have their feedback, I also know that some of the challenges we face in very small nonprofits, in often isolated communities, can be pretty unique.  We need to hear about them. 

The survey should take around 20 minutes to complete (we cover a lot of bases). It is a chance to share your/their story, a chance to help expand understanding of the board leadership experience, and a chance to help shape a better future for those who will serve in years to come.

Please share this link with your board chair/president friends and acquaintances:

Please take the survey, if you are a nonprofit board chair, and help us spread the word.

As a personal thanks, I can pretty much guarantee that you will not only see multiple posts here, discussing the findings, but that I will share links to any publicly available resources that emerge from it.

Finally, a public nod to the team that has worked many months to bring this project to reality. It's been a pleasure to work with this group of governance pros and to be a part of this process so far with them (and anticipating data analysis with glee!). In reverse alphabetical order:

Mary Hiland, Ph.D.
Gayle Gifford, M.S.
Judy Freiwirth, Psy.D.
Mike Burns, M.A.
Debra Beck, Ed.D


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