Thursday, June 19, 2014

Quotable nonprofit governance: Valued experiences to engage board members

"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 a familiar theme here, but Gail Perry says it so well in this quote from her great book that I had to highlight it. We serve our organizations and our communities best, we fulfill the high expectations set for us, and we are happier doing so when we are given the responsibilities and the challenges that belong with nonprofit governance.

Why in the world would we recruit smart, connected community leaders to our boards and not use that opportunity - and their precious time - to address the weighty questions and plot paths to the grand visions of the future that we have?

Assuming we don't want to waste board members' time, passion and expertise, here are three questions for reflection:

What are the unique perspectives/passions/skills/connections that this particular group of board members brings to our nonprofit?

What problems or opportunities can those gifts help us, in ways that move our mission forward?

What changes do we need to make - today - to not only eliminate barriers to accessing those board member gifts but actively draw them out in ways that meet our needs and honor the board members' willingness to share them?

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