Friday, July 22, 2016

Governance toolbox: Great expectations - board responsibilities, impacts, roles

A couple of new offerings from the Twitter feed set a theme this week that I'm not sure I've featured before - our expectations of boards and board members.

Nonprofit governance principles #nonprofit boards -- I saw a tweet referencing the "commonsense principles of corporate governance" earlier this week but let it pass in the push of urgent tasks of the day. My friend Mike Burns didn't let it slide by. Instead, he considered how some of the concepts put forth in that document might be translated to a nonprofit setting and outlined a thoughtful application of governance principles destined to enhance the leadership effectiveness of our sector's boards. This post has the potential to be the foundation for a significant conversation about the roles and impact to which your board should be aspiring.

Best board member behavior: 15 common sense pieces of low hanging fruit -- Similarly, this Credit Union Insight post by Deedee Myers lists 15 "commonsense behaviors" emerging from a discussion involving 80 board members. They truly are "commonsense" ideas that both articulate the bottom-line (e.g., "proactively support board decisions") and the bigger picture (e.g., "stay in your lane, focus on the big stuff"). As with Mike's post, it can be shared as a discussion starter or an individual member reflection opportunity.

Board roles in major campaigns -- Continuing the "roles" theme unfolding this morning, Jeff Jowdy offers a simple list of four ways in which nonprofit board members can support major campaigns. Not all of our organizations embark on large fundraising initiatives, but the idea that board members must participate in fundraising more generally. If you're planning a major fundraising campaign, this post provides a solid foundation for launching the conversation about how board members should expect to be involved. If you're not, Jeff's list reminds everyone that there are different ways that board member participation can be conceived (e.g.,  points three and four on his list). That cannot be overstated.

Association of Chairs (UK) 2016 survey of chairs and vice-chairs -- Finally, a new report highlighting UK research on the experiences of charity board chairs and vice-chairs. I'd appreciate seeing even more of their results, but this report offers a good overview of the items the association found important to highlight. How closely do they match the demographics and experiences of board leaders in your community? Wouldn't it be nice to gather that group and use this report as a discussion starter.

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