Nonprofit Boards-Governance

August 12, 2019

I’m thinking about new stuff… Part 1. (Part 2 is next week.)

Part 1 of a 2-part blog:

Of course, I love all the fundraising and governance stuff I’ve done for years. And I love changing and adjusting and adding new stuff and and… I’m just not one of those people that likes doing the same old stuff the same old way.

  • I’m also reading new stuff and stuff that so few other people in the nonprofit sector seem to be reading. Come on peeps – let’s get out of just reading fundraising and governance and donor stuff.
  • Have you read systems thinking and learning organization business theories yet? I wrote about that back in 1997. How about the stuff that’s happening to our brains because of too much technology?
  • Leadership…Oh sure, some conversations on the job. But who reads actual leadership research and stuff from the Harvard Business Review and and and ….
  • By the way, when was the last time that your professional association recommended readings beyond your specialized field?
  • How about organizational development? Culture and top-notch management and and and… SO MUCH MORE!!

There are 3 sectors: Government. For-profit. Nonprofit. I think the nonprofit sector is more important than most of our society thinks. And I suspect that most of you reading this honors our sector, too.

  • I want the government sector to do more. I’m appalled at what government doesn’t do.
  • I want the for-profit sector to be put in its proper place…. NOT the best the greatest the most important the individual and corporations are bestest. I want the for-profit sector and its people to be punished more often than they are. And if I hear one more person say “If only the nonprofit sector would operate more like the business sector….”)…well I just don’t know what I’m gonna do!!!!!!!!! WTF!!!!!!!!!!!

But if the nonprofit sector doesn’t get itself together better… Just survival isn’t good enough. The excuse of “We nonprofits and our staff are just sooooooo busy just doing what we have to do that we can’t possibly learn more…” WTF????!!!! Would you do your mission in a half-ass manner? Most of you tell me, “No way. We do our mission excellently … or we will choose to close.” Well if that’s the case, then do all the other stuff — fundraising, governance, management, leadership, organizational development, and on and on — damn well, too. Or close down!

The world needs and deserves the best and most loved nonprofit sector. Because people and the planet deserve the best. Social justice. Diversity. Inclusion. Equity. Health. Safety. Employment and economic security. Joy and love and education and peace.

The world needs and deserves the best and most loved nonprofit sector. Because people and the planet deserve the best. An environment that endures – with animals and plants and insects and all those living things. And learning and pleasure and the strength and support to build and care and live and…

Oh good heavens…How did I start down this path today? I read Seth Godin’s July 9, 2019 blog, The $50,000 an hour gate agent. I got frustrated because I hear too much whining from my beloved nonprofit sector people.

  • Yes, yes… I know what it’s like to work long hours and fight with a silly CEO and icky board members – too few of whom seem to “get it.” I know what it’s like to work for less than I’m worth – and without adequate support systems.
  • So leave the sector. Or first, look for a better nonprofit job with smart staff and board members who give you the respect and support I hope you deserve.
  • Because there’s no excuse for we all in this sector accepting inadequacy in others or in ourselves.

Okey dokey. Part 2 is next week. Thanks for listening.

July 15, 2019

Finishing that committee job description

Last week, I shared the initial elements in the job description of a board committee, using the Board Development as the example. The first parts:

  • Purpose of the Committee:
  • Reports to:
  • Staff to the Committee:
  • Committee membership and operations:
  • Frequency of meetings:

And now…

Scope of work for the Board Development Committee

  1. Monitor effectiveness of governance operations and process, policies and guidelines, and recommend changes as necessary.
  2. Review and recommend optimum composition for the Board including diversity screens, skills, and behaviors.
  3. Design and execute an intentional process to recruit and retain the best Board members and officers to help achieve the organization’s mission. The committee does this work for the annual nomination and election process as well as any interim vacancies. Activities include:
    • Review the composition of the Board of Directors and identify the gaps.
    • Based on identified gaps, secure candidate suggestions, and screen them through a formal interview process.
    • Prepare the slate of nominees for board member and officer positions.
  4. Support ongoing learning for board members and the collective itself.
  5. Design and facilitate an orientation process for all newly-elected board members.
  6. Design and facilitate ongoing evaluation processes to recommend and facilitate improvements in individual and collective performance.
    • Annual board member self-evaluation, which is reviewed by the committee.
    • Feedback to board members whose performance requires improvement.
    • Annual governance self-assessment, tabulated and reviewed by the committee. Facilitate process for improvement.

 

July 8, 2019

Committee job descriptions

I expect all committee job descriptions to have the same format and same general content areas. So here’s what I do with committees of the board of directors — and I’m using the Board Development Committee (also called the Governance Committee) as an example………

Title: Role of the Board Development Committee

Purpose of the Committee: As a committee of the Board of Directors, the Board Development Committee helps the Board carry out its due diligence function related to healthy development and operation of the board, its committees and task forces, and performance of the individual board member.

Reports to: Board of Directors

Staff to the Committee: CEO

Committee membership and operations: All committee work is done in partnership with and through the facilitation of the CEO. No committee can usurp the authority of the Board (the collective), and no committee, committee chair, or committee member directrs or oversees staff. Committee members may include both Board and non-Board Members.

Frequency of meetings: As needed – estimated at 4-6 times per year.

Scope of work for the Board Development Committee: See my next blog!!!

June 24, 2019

Do you know Siegfried Vögele?

If you read about donor communications, you’re probably familiar with Siegfried.

Check out this article by fundraiser Chris Keating: How a good envelope can make the difference to your direct mail’s success. All about designing the perfect envelope.

And stick around on the site where Chris posted his article……. SOFII.…. Showcase of fundraising innovation and inspiration.

SOFII is sooooo cool and informative and full of history and and and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to Ken Burnett and his pals…SOFII is the bestest compiler of stuff that works in our philanthropic field.

  • Examples of the bestest fundraising letters and cases for support — like even in the 1930s!
  • All about relationship fundraising
  • Direct mail
  • Brand development
  • Telephone fundraising
  • Digital fundraising
  • And on and on and on…

 

 

May 24, 2019

In RI June 6: Jay Love + Tom Ahern + Simone Joyaux…. LIVE!!

FUNDRAISING POWER SESSION

Jay Love, Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer, Bloomerang. Plus
Tom Ahern & Simone P. Joyaux

Thursday, June 6: 7:30 am – 12:30 pm. Radisson Hotel Providence Airport
2081 Post Road, Warwick RI  02886. Members: $50 / Non-Members: $85.

Jay’s really cool workshop on “Maximizing the Lifetime Value of Your Donors for Fundraising Success.

And then the 3-way talk. Jay + Tom + Simone. Bring your questions. Ask and ask more. Want to be unknown? Then write your question on a piece of paper and hand it to Simone in private. Time to complain and whine. Wail and weep about stuff back at the office. Secrets and doors closed.

May 20, 2019

Have you enrolled at SMUMN yet?

You’ll learn soooo much getting your Masters Degree in Philanthropy and Development.

Just imagine!!!

30 hours of governance so you the fundraiser or executive director or consultant can really do this really very well!!!

Learning all about asking … and then actually having to do it! (And this professor might actually give you a gift if you ask well.)

Why strategic planning matters – even if you’re the development officer – and making sure your voice is heard.

And so much more.

 

December 1, 2018

Annual to-do thing

Imagine showing this video every single year …. for your staff and for your board. Exploring questions. Then talking about the implications and applications for you as individuals, those you serve, and and and …

Better yet, imagine actually doing this live. And sure, staff and board members together.

And how about engaging donors in this? Hmmmm……

Learn about why and how and good and bad and and and on the Internet.

And check out the workshop at 2018 AFP Congress, too.

July 19, 2018

Evaluating board member performance

Do you? Do you evaluate board member performance?

Do board members evaluate their own performance?

Does your governance committee evaluate board member performance?

Has your organization defined board member performance expectations?

Take a look at the evaluation tools I developed in Firing Lousy Board Members – and Helping the Others Succeed.

July 12, 2018

Firing lousy board members

Here’s my bottom line: No one person … even a board member … takes precedence over the health of the organization.

Poor performers – lousy ones – don’t get to stay. And that includes board members!

Serving on a board is serious business. Treat it accordingly!

So yes, you might have to fire a lousy board member.

But make sure you enable well first. Make sure your CEO is an expert in governance. And fire only when everything else has been done well first.

See Firing Lousy Board Members – And Helping the Others Succeed.

 

April 6, 2018

One of my most favorite things!!!

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota…. Masters Degree in Philanthropy and Development….

Why? The STUDENTS!!! All ages and life experiences and types of nonprofits and different countries and… All committed to challenging assumptions, and exploring, and lifelong learning.

Faculty like Audrey and Gary and now Tom Ahern has joined the faculty!! And we have other new faculty members, too.

Constantly modifying and strengthening the curriculum. (For example: I’m going to spend more time on social justice in the first course students have.)

  • Fundraising of course… planning and major gifts and a really marvelous real life solicitation with a real person!!!
  • Fundraising communications
  • Strategic planning
  • Leadership: Legal and ethical issues in nonprofit organizations
  • Governance (That’s me!)
  • Philanthropy and development: frameworks for thinking and learning. (That’s me, too!)

Part of the program is online. A masters degree in ONE YEAR only. Just 4 semesters. WOW!!!. Students begin with summer 1 residency…Fall and spring online. And then you return to campus once more for summer 2 residency. AND YOU’RE DONE!!

AND THEN!!!!!!!! THE RESIDENCY. Those weeks on campus each summer. Oh wow. I LOVE the residency. Face-to-face. Talking and arguing and applying learnings and experience. Intense. Fun. And building relationships that stick with you on and on.

Contact Cheryl Pray (cpray@smumn.edu) our marvelous Executive Director. Contact me and I’ll tell you all about the program.

Join us! We learn and have fun and create enduring relationships.

 

 

 

Simone Joyaux, ACFRE, Adv Dip, is an internationally recognized expert in fund development, board and organizational development, strategic planning, and management.

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