Friday, July 8, 2016

Governance toolbox: Collaboration, culture, compliance, evaluation and stories

Craig Freshley's "attitudes" offer a perfect, inspiring opening for this week's toolbox. It applies to collaboration across organizations, as well as for our collective work in the nonprofit boardroom.  I share it as a "tool" for sparking conversation about how we support and engage each other for the greater good that we hope to create. Visit Craig's website for more specific recommendations for creating that environment.

Treating nonprofit board members as mushrooms? -- Hardy Smith's research-driven advice led him to five, on-the-mark "actions for turning communication from poor to positive." His recommendations should be common-sense, though some of us often don't act as if that is true. Are you communicating and interacting with board members that meet their needs? Are Hardy's recommendations your standard mode of working with and supporting your board? If not, change that. Today.

The value of evaluation in board governance -- Elena Harman's post is a contribution to the board assessment conversation, both in terms of advice articulated and linked resources shared.  Read both. Reflect on how they reflect or depart from your board's evaluation processes. Then engage your board in discussion about how you can use what she offers here to enhance or improve those processes.

Board members & storytelling: a powerful combination -- In this Movie Monday video, Lori Jacobwith offers a fantastic idea for not only bringing the mission to your board, but for equipping your board to share it more broadly with the community. I'll let Lori's words speak for themselves. It's a quick watch - one worth sharing and discussing with your board.

At the heart of culture: Work that matters -- This post refers to a workplace setting, but the "matters that work" list absolutely can apply to nonprofit governance. It especially applies to nonprofit board work. Sure, we may have the occasional member who sees a seat at our table primarily as a strategic line on a resume. We may have the occasional member who is there simply because he/she didn't summon the courage to say no. But for the vast majority, board service is an opportunity to merge personal values and purpose with organizational values and purpose. We manage the mundane and put up with the tedious because we believe we can make a difference in our broader scope of responsibilities. "Work that matters" should be the essence of what we call on our boards to do. If we can't - if we don't ground that work in matters of vision, values, teamwork, excellence and focus - we don't get to blame members when they check out, mentally or physically.

5 reasons your board should care about fundraising compliance -- It's not a warm and fuzzy topic, but it's a core part of the board's fiduciary function. This Guidestar post makes the case for the board's responsibility, the "why." The linked resources offer more detail on the "how."

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