• Dan Duncan

    Kathy, great article. You make a number of critical points for nonprofits and board management. As a consultant and past nonprofit CEO I often told my board, treat your board role as you would if this was your own company and your livelihood depended on it. They would pay a lot more attention and more importantly they would find ways to tell their circles about the organization at every opportunity.

  • Tommy Norman

    Read quickly, and will do again tonight, but it looks excellent. Mission execution, with a evidenced based underpinning, keeping the strengths of the staff focused in their respective lanes, is a true intersection of challenge and focus…

  • Jane Garthson

    Fabulous article, Kathy! Really identifies key internal areas that board members should be aware of and questioning. Write a companion piece about what they often ignore about the outside world!

    I’ve been consulting to boards for 22 years, and sat on a number. It’s a hard role. Most have no training whatever, and orientations that are about the organization but not about the role of the board. Since many join their first board in university or college, why aren’t we offering training in high school civics about nonprofit governance? Their first experience is often with a bunch of other students who also don’t know much about boards, and actually I think they accomplish amazing things despite that. Others start by being the one young person on a board with governance that hasn’t been re-thought for over twenty years, and some are even told to be silent for their first six months!

    I would also hold executive directors to account. Many dictate agendas to their boards; directors are surprised to learn that board agendas are theirs to decide, and they really don’t have to spend the meetings listening to reports, rehashing the past and rubber stamping things staff need approved! They can make time for director education and deep conversations, and EDs should be giving them that advice. EDs should also be helping boards determine what information they want, when they want it, in what format and in what level of detail. It’s the Board’s call, but the EDs are the professionals in the sector. Right on that if boards don’t get the information they ask for, there must be consequences for the ED!