Friday, October 9, 2015

Governance toolbox: Random, bookmarked, nonprofit board-connected goodness

Finally sitting down to address my out-of-control lists of favorited tweets, saved-to-Pocket URLs and Diigo-collected bookmarks yielded an eclectic array of possibilities for this week's toolbox - and probably next week as well. Here is a small sampling of what I've been saving for sharing with you over the last few weeks.

Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook -- With increased calls for board members to assume a larger role in advocating for their missions and their organizations, I found this resource by the Alliance for Justice to be potentially valuable for any of our governing bodies (or staffs). It targets foundations, but the general principles apply directly (or can be easily adapted) to other parts of the sector. You can download the entire playbook or access specific sections via links on this page.

The eight building blocks of strong nonprofit brands -- Peter Frumkin's latest post for Nonprofit Quarterly represents another "larger than board work" topics that is part of the larger, legitimate strategic responsibilities of governance. Some of the blocks could invite micromanagement - if the board is not clear on its larger governance roles. But others, like "clear impact claim," are the legitimate domain - and responsibility - of boards.

Optimistic discontent -- Another useful contribution by Dan Rockwell, this post offers both "expressions" optimistic discontent (what to look for, how to recognize it) and "ways to ignite (it) in others." What I continue to appreciate about Rockwell's work is his attempt to help bring such important group dynamics/organizational communication concepts to some level of visibility as well as the fact he usually takes that next step of offering advice about how to do something about it as a leader.

How to kill the idea of nonprofit overhead --  Has your board had the overhead conversation? Is it a recurring issue or challenge in your fundraising efforts? Amy Eisenstein calls this a "hot button issue," because it is for many in the sector. In this brief video, Amy discusses the rationale for moving donors and others beyond the mindset that all overhead is created equal (and bad) in ways that should resonate with your board members. She also offers counterpoints to that argument.

4 essentials to effective board succession planning -- Thanks to a bit of old fashioned serendipity, I find myself on the outskirts of the credit union community. That connection brought me this CUBroadcast video (with audio download if you prefer to listen offline) of a discussion covering the title topic. Some of the specifics are credit union specific, but others are universal to boards and all are easily adapted to other parts of the sector. How is your board planning for its next generation of members?

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