As new year resolutions go, getting better organized seems an easy goal. Clearing out closets, files, and even email inboxes can be good for the mind — and soul. But what about the organization?
Fresh perspective can transform… well, almost anything.
When a new BoardEffect administrator recently took the reins from her predecessor, she knew she could leverage her still outside perspective to benefit the board. In studying the multiple board and committee workrooms in her platform, she recognized an organic “design” of workflow and information management that reflected users’ initial learning process. Each workroom had developed its own system for organizing information. Missing, however, were strategic naming and archiving conventions that would promote efficiency and best practice utilization of the tool. By looking through a new lens, she quickly identified ways to enhance board members’ experience with their platform and, subsequently, on the board.
Longer-Term Steps Nonprofits Can Take in an Era of Political Transition / Uncertainty. The Importance of Advocacy The National Council of Nonprofits recognizes “the work of charitable nonprofits will be affected – positively and negatively – by changes in the…
Immediate-Term Steps Nonprofits Can Take in an Era of Political Transition / Uncertainty.
Every national, state, and local election has the potential to impact communities and the nonprofits that serve them. The difference this year is that impact remains largely unknown. As each segment of the nonprofit sector scrambles to anticipate and interpret the implications of a Trump presidency, nonprofit boards have work to do. But it’s not necessarily the work they think.
Among the many lessons in our recent, historic election is the truth about the company we keep. As reflected on social media, like-minded people tend to gravitate to those who think – and sometimes look – as they do. Though easily attributable to human nature, this pattern enables us to overlook blind spots that can prove treacherous, especially for nonprofit boards.
The power in the room was palpable. Not just at the recent BoardEffect Users Conference, where hundreds of BoardEffect administrators congregated to learn with – and from – one another, but every time I’ve witnessed professional peers convene to gain and share knowledge. They consistently generate energy from one another, leveraging their experiences to offer guidance, encouragement, instruction, and validation to colleagues in similar roles. They take pride in knowing their struggles might benefit someone else and comfort in knowing they’re not alone.
That moment when your read or hear something that stops you in your tracks – it’s transformative. Maybe it inspires new ideas or just encourages you to look differently at the same old thing. Like your board meeting. Or the tools you use in them. Consider the survey, an instrument commonly distributed to board members to solicit data about the board’s performance in the previous year. Practical, informative, invaluable. But sufficient?
As back-to-school anticipation permeates the August air, students of all ages gear up for another cycle of learning. Pencils, notebooks, laptops, and iPads fly off shelves and summer fades into study season. So culturally conditioned are we to schooling that those not enrolling might experience pangs of education envy.
Your chief executive is leaving. No, not hypothetically. At some point, the CEO, executive director, or maybe even founder of your organization will move on to something new. In fact, according to BoardSource, 50% of nonprofit leaders expect to leave their positions within the next five years, yet only one-third of organizations have a succession plan. And even fewer have an executive director transition plan.
What happens when a board chair tries to counter low attendance at board meetings with shorter meetings? Even lower attendance, as a well-intended colleague once discovered. Turns out lack of time is not what causes board member absenteeism; in fact, volunteer leaders expect to invest time in the causes they champion — as long as that time seems well-spent.
Effective board and executive leaders know that meeting content must be meaningful in order to ensure the ongoing presence, participation, and engagement of board members. They create strategic agendas, ensure timely access to relevant information, foster generative discussions, and leverage the talent around the board table. They also know promoting attendance at board meetings isn’t just about content – policies play essential roles, too.