Boards in Bad Times (eNewsletter)

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Her willingness to stay engaged and in productive mode helps me communicate well with the whole of our board even when times are a bit tough.

Talk about testing the mettle of our governance systems. These times are likely to reveal the real strengths and weaknesses of our boards. Will they panic, ignore, or move forward to help in unexpected ways?

I’d love to hear back from you today to get a sense of how your board is acting and reacting to funding ambiguities, funding cuts, and the new and different opportunities popping up in this rugged landscape.

How is your board responding to the uncertainties of the environment? What is the best or the worst thing they’ve done? What are the topics of discussions and at what level? How would you rate their performance on a scale of one (clueless) to ten (insightful, challenging, helpful and informed).

You may post your feedback to our Web site; or if you prefer, reply privately to me, letting me know whether we can post your reply without attribution.

  • Dee Anne Everson

    My board is amazing. I have shared that I believe, quite frankly, things are easier in nonprofits now than they are in for profits. Many of my board members are in prime working ages and haven’t seen a significant downturn in their professional lives. For those who have, there’s a different understanding of cycles. For those who haven’t, it’s challenging. In my experience, nonprofits operate so much closer to the margin that squeezing isn’t as hard. At least it doesn’t seem so here. Although we’re rapidly approaching the first shaking out of a few organizations. That will be painful and yet these times offer opportunity as well as challenge. My board is interested and engaged and committed. They offer ideas, they think critically, they pay attention to what’s going on around them. For this, we are lucky, strong and working hard to stay ahead of the next curve ball.

  • carl cecil allen

    Recession or not, when there are rough times, I have found board members ready to step up their time commitments.

    Sadly, this often does not translate to effectiveness and efficiency as the same capabilities are present whereas the situation may require a different mindset or skills not previously needed and still not present.

    Boards may take too long consulting with themselves and by the time they call on external opinion it may be too late or the the board is culturally unbale to take the drastic action needed.

  • Margot Swann

    Our Board is pretty scared around the money. The good thing is that they are keeping a very close eye on the funds, helping us to be economical and reasonable with our spending. The other good news is that though they are pushing us hard to scare up more funds in sponsorships and donations, it

  • Anonymous

    Like many of our colleagues and clients, Nonprofit Management Solutions has tightened its belt, downsized and increased its resource development activity

  • Dan Fox

    I noticed your request for information on how boards are responding in bad times and want to share the following information about the Family & Children

  • anne lawlor

    Well you know, I can’t actually answer your question about our board because we don’t really have a fully fledged one as yet. We are a relatively new group and are only in the very early stages of establishing ourselves. And what interesting waters we have entered! The plus side is of course that we are as yet entirely voluntary and nave no great expectations and no fears about the current economic climate. We are a parent driven group and our primary aim at this point in time is to raise awareness of a little known genetic syndrome that is affecting our children and our family lives and getting to know each other and our stories. We have sufficient funds for those needs at the moment and are quite content to take things step by step and build slowly but well. Quality people doing a quality job is what I am most interested in because our children deserve to have people who have their best interests at heart.

    I find it extremely interesting that globally we are facing the same problems. What I find even more interesting is that it has probably always been this way it’s just that now the ‘domino’ effect is much more rapid. When I was younger I was taught that every action has a reaction. There was a time when an action in America for instance took a very long time to spark a reaction on this side of the Atlantic, nowadays the time in-between is much shorter. Obama’s election is just one example -the impact was almost instantaneous. I put this down to technology and the incredible speed of communication. News travels so fast and the impact hits much quicker. Point is, every action does have a reaction, individually or as a group we are all making a difference, we just have to choose what kind of a difference it is.

    I have set goals and have a job to do regardless of the externals – I keep it simple and try to focus on the next task and keep an eye to the bigger picture at the same time, and never ever lose sight of why I started in the first place.