101| Community resource. Have a question about board processes and dynamics? Check here. For easy reference, we’ve compiled the answers to questions we’re frequently asked into one resource.
101| Community resource. By understanding the power of diversity and by utilizing it appropriately, a nonprofit board possesses the basic tools for creating a responsive and open-minded organization.
201| Members only resource. Whether you know it or not, your board has an internal culture, and how your board runs its meetings is a reflection of it. Whether you carry on a structured business meeting, diligently following strict rules, or do business in a relaxed manner and atmosphere may be creating either an incentive or a hindrance to fully engaging your present and future board members.
201| Members only resource. Developing, educating, or building your board all have the same objective: to create an effective board that is conscious of its own role and responsibilities, motivated by the mission of the organization, willing and able to actively participate in board leadership, and qualified to guide the organization toward progress. A good board development plan will promote board members’ continuous growth and learning.
201| Members only resource. It is not always easy for a board to see the line between management and governance. Board members need to consider themselves overseers, not implementers. When boards overstep the line between governance and management they can easily become micromanagers.
201| Members only resource. An organization that is experiencing a shift in its constituent ethnicity or that is expanding its reach past national borders needs a board that understands the strategic implications of this change. One method of addressing these new needs is to bring in board members who contribute to a global perspective. These new board members may reside in another country, but this essential perspective may also be easily found just around the corner.
201| Members only resource. A productive collaboration relies on trust among team members and building this trust is critical to the board’s ultimate success. Board members — as team members — must be able to rely on each other openly and without reservation.
201| Members only resource. Successful navigation through organizational lifecycles demands adaptability. Learning along the way — mastering the basics of the various stages — is a must in order for the organization to evolve. One of the most challenging obstacles is stagnation, when the organization lies on its laurels, remains comfortable with its accomplishments, and feels no need to change. In order to prevent or survive stagnation, the board and senior staff have a duty to remain vigilant and constantly question today to plan for tomorrow.
101| Community resource. What are the main weaknesses, omissions, mistakes, flaws, bad judgments, and sins that a board or an individual board member can commit? The following list of most common board problems and shortcomings focuses on how a governing board can lose its way.
201| Members only resource. Founded in 1989, OPAL (Of People And Land) was one of the first community land trusts in the American West and remains at the forefront of perpetually affordable housing. What accounts for the OPAL board’s success and what can other boards take away from it to apply to their own governance practices? Lisa Byers, executive director, shares her insights here.
201| Members only resource. Performance evaluation often is conceived as a threatening exercise. This is not true only with employee performance evaluations but equally applies to boards’ self-assessments. This happens when the purpose of assessment is not understood. Self-evaluation has a negative undertone when it is not used to build positive outcomes.
101| Community resource. “Founderitis” and “founder’s syndrome” are terms often used to describe a founder’s resistance to change. When founderitis surfaces, the source of the dilemma often is a founder’s misunderstanding of his or her role in an evolving organization.
201| Members only resource. Governance as leadership provides boards with a significant opportunity to steer their meetings away from straight reporting and toward an adaptive leadership model.
201| Members only resource. When an individual board member is apprehensive about activities — or lack of them — within the organization or the board itself, it is not always easy to air these concerns and know what the proper way to proceed is.
201| Members only resource. Most nonprofit boards understand the potential benefits of board diversity and inclusion, yet many struggle to fulfill the promise offered. Why is that? We mean well, after all. Are there hidden barriers to achieving this promise?
201| Members only resource. In strong boards, members comprehend their role as the fundamental unit guiding the organization. In some weak boards, individual board members seem oblivious to their specific expectations and obligations and are content to be led by others. When the entire board is complacent — a bit too comfortable with status quo or too submissive to authoritarian rule — a potentially detrimental situation threatens the organization as well as individual board members.
201| Members only resource. We are all motivated to serve on a board for different reasons. For a board to accomplish its mission, it must attract members who are committed to the cause, want to be engaged, and find their board service satisfying.
201| Members only resource. If an organization grows as hoped and planned for, a “working board” will eventually reach a point when it’s time to transfer the organization’s management, administration, and operations to staff and staff-led volunteers.