The numbers don’t add up. According to CohnReznick’s 2015 Not-For-Profit Governance Survey, 81% of respondents ranked cyber security as a leading cause of concern among nonprofit leaders, yet only 11% of boards have created risk management or IT committees. Perhaps…
What do board conflicts of interest and pornography have in common? Nothing, it turns out. While the latter is vaguely defined but commonly recognized “when we see it,” conflicts of interest seem to be the opposite – clearly defined yet often NOT recognized, even in plain sight.
Board Collaboration: The grease that allows the engine to run
We addressed how technology can be leveraged when trying to enhance board processes in our recent infographic. In our second installment on using technology to elevate board performance, we focus specifically on how to cultivate board collaboration.
Despite great intentions otherwise, nonprofit – and for-profit – boards frequent the news. While the Planned Parenthood crisis is front and center now, headlines have covered all sorts of “scandals” in recent years (ie. Penn State, Target, Enron, Sweet Briar College). Even the ALS board faced the spotlight during last year’s wildly successful “Ice Bucket Challenge.”
It’s now more important than ever before that your board of directors is highly engaged in the mission and business of your organization. Over the past decade, the bar has been raised on board performance – it’s no longer sufficient (if it ever was) for board members to simply show up to meetings, nod their heads in agreement, and go home. Your stakeholders want tangible evidence that your organization is fulfilling its mission. Your board members – as the owners of your organization’s mission – are in the crosshairs of this scrutiny. Board engagement is critical.
New technology, like Board Management Software, isn’t always welcomed into an organization, even when it’s urgently needed. Champions at every level encounter obstacles. Exponent Partners explains why, noting that program teams focus on their priorities, not the organization as a whole, and leadership doesn’t have the capacity to research new projects. So how can you make a case to the board for the technology product you know they need?
Having successfully introduced a SaaS product to her nonprofit, one leader shares tips for cultivating buy-in for technology solutions in nonprofit organizations:
Enhancing Board Performance
A high-performing board of directors can be an organization’s most valuable asset. From the moment they cross the starting line, board members must protect the institution they serve. Governance efforts in support of this critical, core duty should be purposefully conceived to drive the board’s collective capability and build valuable fiduciary competency.
Board management software offers a range of opportunity elevate board performance as varied as the needs of each board and organization. The key is to effectively align and deploy technology to support the full range of responsibilities of board governance. Below is our new infographic that suggests useful tools, implementation tips and pitfalls to avoid.
Like sailboat captains trying to turn ocean liners, certain nonprofit board members aim to drive innovation while boards themselves tend to move more slowly. To that point, any board still debating the importance of social media in its nonprofit has missed the boat. In almost no time, social media swiftly infiltrated not only communications and marketing strategies, but also fundraising (last summer’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was SO successful, it’s about to resume), program development, and even governance activities.
Yes, the board has a critical role to play. Carolyn Appleton, a nonprofit executive, advises clients to add the role of “online ambassador” to the job description for nonprofit board members. Supported by a 2012 consumer behavior study by The Nielsen Company which found that “92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising – an increase of 18% since 2007,” she suggests sharing positive experiences online could be a powerful tool for encouraging colleagues to support their favorite nonprofits.
Last week, at the AHCAP (Association of Health Care Administrative Professionals) conference, we had a great discussion about tactical strategies administrators can use to have an impact on their board engagement – and help to build a healthy board culture. For those who were unable to attend the conference, the slide deck is posted below.
In the presentation, we discussed the important role of the board liaison in ensuring the board’s culture is one of open dialog, mutual respect, and appropriate curiosity. The topic was inspired by Mary Graham Davis, former board chair of Mount Holyoke College, who wrote a powerful article for Trusteeship magazine on developing a healthy board culture. Specifically, we wanted to highlight the important role board liaisons – such as the assistant to the CEO – play in fostering board culture. A few examples of the tips we suggested include: