Monday, June 16, 2014

Quotable nonprofit governance: Right group + right cause = right board passion

"Quotable Nonprofit Governance" is a summer series sharing awe-inspiring and instructive insights from several of my favorite nonprofit board resources. My goal is to not only share great quotes but to also suggest ways to use them to inform your own approach to governance.

It's impossible to talk too much about passion on nonprofit boards - that's my motto. This quote, from June Bradham's The Truth about What Nonprofit Boards Want: The Nine Little Things that Matter Most, complements last week's post on the "passion of the explorer."

It also takes the more general "board passion" conversation a step further with Bradham's last sentence: "In fact the more seasoned a board member, the more passion is required."

I find that statement to be quite thought provoking. At one level, it seems counter-intuitive. After all, we seasoned vets understand the importance of a single-minded focus on our nonprofit's mission. We know that our collective commitment, stated and enacted, can mean the difference between just getting by and changing our community. We know all too well the weight of the responsibilities and the sacred community trust that we hold in our hands.

On the other hand, I think back to my first board board assignments. I remember the awe that came from learning more about their common mission, about the impact we were having on individual lives, and about the challenges we accepted for changing public opinion and state laws. We applied metaphorical band-aids for today's needs while envisioning a day when we would put ourselves out of business. That passion was new and fresh, and it was inspiring

Obviously, it's not an either/or situation. The larger message of Bradham's quote remains pivotal. But I can't help asking - you and myself - what we can do to light a different kind of renewing passion spark for our veteran board members.

What do you think?

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