How To Set An Effective Nonprofit Agenda
January 17, 2017

How to Set an Effective Nonprofit Agenda

What’s the difference between an unproductive nonprofit board meeting and an effective nonprofit board meeting? The board meeting agenda and the board chair who uses it.

The agenda is the board chair’s most important tool. When a non-profit board meeting agenda is written well, it helps the board chair to make fast decisions about managing agenda items. An experienced board chair knows that items on the agenda signal some type of action from the board. When an agenda item is not ready for the board to take action, it signals the board chair to remove or table the item from the agenda, or move it to a committee for further discussion and exploration.

A well-planned agenda helps the board chair keep the meeting focused on the strategic planning of the mission and prevents members from derailing the meeting with tangents and disruptions.

A Board Self-Assessment Checklist
September 4, 2016

A Board Self-Assessment Checklist

Only about half of boards use a formal, written self-assessment tool to evaluate their board’s effectiveness. That number is surprisingly low considering that doing self-assessments can be the catalyst that takes a board from stagnant and boring to vibrant and thriving. Non-profit organizations may think they don’t need to perform evaluations on the board or the board members, but non-profit boards have just as much to benefit from a productive board of directors as any other organization.

Checklist For A Board Meeting
August 25, 2016

Checklist for a Board Meeting

Board meetings can become pretty routine, but that does not mean that planning for them should be completely routine. Most meetings will tackle looming problems, identify future opportunities, and spark new ideas. While it’s important for a board meeting to have a solid structure, it should also have a little flexibility built into the agenda for tackling topics that are crucial or unanticipated. It’s easy to justify putting off doing a thorough preparation for a board meeting because of being too jam-packed with other tasks. It’s helpful for the board secretary to have a handy checklist for meeting preparation that is flexible enough to adjust for late additions and emergency matters. Here are some basic tasks to check off before your next board meeting:

Calculating The Cost Savings Of A Board Portal Vs. “Free” Options
July 25, 2016

Calculating the Cost Savings of a Board Portal vs. “Free” Options

Last week a prospective client asked us how BoardEffect users typically measure organizational cost savings from using our product.  This is a relatively common question, which isn’t surprising given that virtually all organizations today operate with budget constraints. But this frequent and seemingly simple request implies a range of related questions centered around calculating Return on Investment (ROI).  In an effort to address this question completely but concisely, I’ve broken this into a two-part response.  This first post articulates a way to think about and justify the general cost of implementing a board portal versus the most common alternatives.  The ensuing second post will offer a framework for comparing the cost of commercial off-the-shelf software versus building one’s own custom board portal solution.

Board Member Orientation Checklist
July 14, 2016

Board Member Orientation Checklist

An upcoming election of a new slate of board members should signal the start of planning for the new member orientation. The quality of the orientation process is a reflection on how well the board works as a group. When the orientation runs like a well-oiled machine, new members will come to their first board meeting with full confidence that they are joining a great organization. Even if you’ve organized an orientation in the past, a little pre-planning goes a long way towards running an informative, efficient orientation.

Notice Of The Board Meeting: Regular And Special
July 3, 2016

Notice of the Board Meeting: Regular and Special

Every member of a group has rights and responsibilities. One of the important rights of a board member is to know when meetings will be held to make a decision about whether the member can or should attend. Notices of meetings and waivers of notice provide written documentation that members were given enough notice to make that decision. Providing notice of a board meeting is important for every organization. It can also be a legal requirement for public bodies. Regardless of how the notice is publicized, it should include specific information so that the notice is clear.

10 Tips For Successful Board Meetings
June 7, 2016

10 Tips for Successful Board Meetings

Are your board members complaining behind closed doors? Are they frustrated that some board members are not prepared? Do they feel like their input is being overshadowed by a few outspoken members? These are some of the common complaints by board members who feel that board meetings are just a waste of time. Board member dissatisfaction is a huge barrier to the board’s work. How do you turn boring, routine meetings into meetings that are successful and productive? Here are ten tips to help make it happen:

Privileged Motions: A Few Types And Examples
May 12, 2016

Privileged Motions: A Few Types and Examples

Imagine a handbook that covers every possible board situation that could come up at any profit or nonprofit organization. The book would be volumes upon volumes. It’s for this reason that Robert’s Rules allows some room for organizations to be flexible, under certain circumstances, and with specific rules. Main motions are the primary mechanism that boards use to act and move on business items. Occasionally, something needs to be brought up at a board meeting that can’t wait. That’s the time that certain motions, called privileged motions, rule over every other type of motion. As with every other type of motion, privileged motions have rules of their own.

Managing Main Motions In Parliamentary Procedure
May 9, 2016

Managing Main Motions in Parliamentary Procedure

If you asked anyone how board members make and pass motions at a board meeting, most people could give the basic protocol for a main motion. A board member makes a motion; another member seconds it; the board chair calls for the yeas and nays; and the motion passes or fails. It sounds pretty simplistic, but unless it’s a straightforward question without question or opposition, there’s a bit of behind-the-scenes information that board members should know.