Mark founded Facilitation & Process in 2009 to help organizations and communities bridge the gap between where they are today and where they want to be tomorrow. These situations are an opportunity for board members to work together and provide space to strengthen the team dynamic as a whole. So what’s the next step? Portland, OR 97218-0144 Emails about once each month with updates, first look insights, and giving you opportunities to solicit input. Second is Diversity. Your class is individually put together through a selection process to ensure that you experience the most impactful learning with a truly diverse group of global peers. Again, Alexandra, thanks for your contribution. This is pretty great, Mark. And if problems or disagreements do arise, don’t avoid them with hopes they’ll resolve on their own. (privacy assured), In the past, I have written episodically on the topic of, The Oregon Attorney General has boiled Nonprofit Board service down to a, Most nonprofit board members have a passion and mission affiliation for the organization where they serve. Whether the nonprofit is large or small, it can often share many of the same challenges with its board governance. A recent survey of more than 770 directors from public and private companies across industries around the world and from nonprofit organizations suggests that some are responding more energetically than others. Convince me that you have a see there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” Translated, I believe that given a larger vision, most nonprofit agencies can strengthen their boards with very little direction. This can lead to confusion and potential problems down the road. Indeed, type in nonprofit board development in Google and you get 1,170,000 results. Over the last several months I have become an informal advisor to an executive director of an agency in anther state. contributing to the organization’s high performance. View our expert webinar series on the 7 Pillars of High Performance. Your email address will not be published. Ten Traits of High Performing Nonprofit Boards 1 Nonprofit Boot Camp October 2, 2014 James Lee #SM4NP #SF 2. We believe investing in board development, and facilitating foundational knowledge, are critical steps in your journey to build a high-performing board of directors. A high-performing board truly operates as a team. The Practitioner’s Guide by Cathy A. Trower. Culture, history and enthusiasm are grown with intentionality and patience. Board and staff will be successful in direct proportion to the degree that there is a shared sense of purpose and focus that is organized around a commitment and consensus (as in general agreement and not unanimity). The Oregon Attorney General has boiled Nonprofit Board service down to a 12-page booklet with lots of white space. 23 Habits of High-Performing Nonprofit Boards All board meetings have a high percentage of attendance and participation. Being nonprofit leader that is open and committed to sustainable change is the core of the Performance Imperative because these types of leaders inspire change, growth, and learning in their team, which can only translate to better results for their constituents. The best mechanisms for doing that are annual self-assessments. The book offers 64 principles to maximize performance and contributions from individuals including a set of questions at the end of each chapter to assess your board's function. The gap is understanding the broad vision of what a board could and should be and not a gap related to direction or resources. Alexandra, I am not suggesting that the pathway is narrow or in need of direction. #SM4NP #SF 2 3. Most nonprofit board members have a passion and mission affiliation for the organization where they serve. Reminds me of a successful party with a great noisy discussion going. Without an internal commitment to developing a high performing board, it simply will not happen. Please excuse formatting on older posts. Audits 3. 22. Board building is an ongoing activity, a process of continuous improvement, which means boards must keep coming back to the same questions about purpose, resources, and effectiveness. Boards become high performers with an intentional and disciplined approach to developing a deep understanding of the agency it serves. Term limits 2. I would suggest the following attributes: 1. Engaging in Three Core Planning Processes One of the themes of my blog this year is to focus on the core nonprofit planning processes. This blog is used to provide practical advice, strategic thinking, and commentary on trends and research to help nonprofits do even greater good in the communities they serve. People. Phone: (503) 863-1457 These board training resources have proven themselves in hundreds of nonprofits. It’s important that new board members understand what’s expected of them right from the start. These trustees also have a single, collective seat on the main board. If you’re looking for ways to help your nonprofit board operate more effectively, it can help to learn more about the best practices for board development and board operations. The following are characteristics of a high-performing board: The CEO and chair fully engage the individual board members; The board practices effective governance, especially related to recruitment and reappointment; Board leadership succession is an integral part of the culture; There is a strong focus on performance, results and measures of success; Much of the board's work is done in subcommittees meetings outside of full board meetings. The board meets on an appropriate schedule that reflects the size and scope of its work. Most Important Features 1. Facilitation & Process, LLC SHAPING COMMUNITIES. This is the third in a series of blog posts about nonprofit investments and is intended to focus our attention what investments are urgent (see here for part 1 & part 2).). For example, the board members of a nonprofit organization are expected to be major donors and fundraisers for the nonprofit, as well as understanding the additional legal expectations and standards. Many high performing nonprofits boards now recognize that they must be more proactive in communicating with stakeholders in order to compete for funding. I recently attended a networking event in Portland for nonprofit and business leaders that was hosted by the Willamette Valley Development Officers. A significant amount of time, thought, and care is put into choosing the individuals who serve on your nonprofit board, and it’s important to continue developing those individuals. This course will provide you with an understanding of the fundamental principles and best practices for developing and working with an impactful nonprofit board of directors. 2. What Attributes Qualify a High Performing Nonprofit Board? Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Most board members also bring high-value skills and experiences that can support the growth the agency. Without social connectivity between board member and the organization, the board will be challenged to excel. The problem with the “white space” you mention is that it’s in that white space that directions are needed, and if you’ll forgive the continuance of this metaphor, a means of clearing the path. A Thorough Orientation = A High-Performing Nonprofit Board ... MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. Some of these posts will form the basis of a new book being written on Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Developmental Stages. If you want to stay informed, join my newsletter below. Us too. The first step is about expanding vision. Every member should be encouraged to give feedback about how the board is operating. Strong boards take time to develop. Ultimately, they are focused on furthering the mission of the nonprofit and work collectively in its best interest. I am of the mindset that we need to inspire focus and a little larger imagination rather than pile on more tools. Of the 32 high-performing institutions whose leadership we interviewed, 7 had some form of two-tier arrangement. They are action-oriented. Have you ever wondered what separates high-performing nonprofit boards from those that are average or underperforming? The proof of the model’s value is the growth and performance of our organization,… Board chairs are selected for a variety of reasons: stature, trust, … The role and characteristics of a high performing board chair, and 5 Qualities of a High Performance Organization While there are certainly more than five qualities that organizations must have in order to be considered high performers, the following qualities emerge as consistent themes in literature from both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Organizing around the Long View A final dimension of a high performing board is to organize around the long view. Commitment to Personal Giving. A part time voluntary group who don’t know each other well, they’re told over and over that their primary responsibility is fundraising, not governance, and rarely given as clear a mandate as you’ve described above. How to Conduct an Effective Nonprofit Board Meeting, Finding and Joining a Nonprofit Board That is Right For You, 7 Key Qualities of Excellent Nonprofit Board Members, COVID-19 Illustrates the Need for Strong Nonprofit Leadership, 4 Ways to Increase Your Nonprofit Board’s Diversity, Requirements for participating in committees, Participation in community outreach programs. Required fields are marked *. The task of leadership is to recognize the contributions of each board member and to weave together the individuals into a collective board that becomes more than the sum of its parts. The importance of securing board agreement on the structure cannot be overstated – without consensus on the structure or definition of what a high performing board member is for the respective nonprofit, trouble likely lurks around the corner. It depends upon the type of organization, the size of the organization, the mission of the organization, the financial wherewithal of the organization, and other factors. High Performance Nonprofit Board with the Right Board Members Developed by Robert C. Andringa, Ph.D. In practical terms, it means building board membership first and foremost from the perspective of  the agency’s vision, mission, community and culture. Individuals prefer to provide feedback in different ways so you should give your board members multiple, balanced opportunities to express themselves. Stakeholders—from regulators to shareholders to corporate social responsibility advocates—have become more vocal, more sophisticated and less forgiving, while the b… The ability of any organization to respond quickly and effectively to…, According to a report by The Governance Gap, 61% of respondents said their board of directors does not adequately reflect the community/communities their organization serves…, Your email address will not be published. Term limits 2. Offered in this post are germinal ideas that can be used to help nonprofit boards strengthen and clarify that process of weaving together a high performing board. The Board focuses on results – and on monitoring results. This experience will equip your board members with the tools they need to serve effectively and will help them prepare for future growth. This executive director is juggling both the growth of a programs and the growth of the organizational infrastructure. To achieve the critical goals of raising awareness and funds, nonprofit organizations face global challenges that require continuous engagement and participation from board team members. A starting point for a board is to create an annual development plan that might include “the” annual retreat and “the” board orientation but might also include board in-service training workshops, job shadowing by board members, partner panels or collaboration fairs. The CEO meets with the honorary board at least once a year and taps its expertise whenever necessary. In the past, I have written episodically on the topic of board development and, in this post, I wanted to put in writing some thoughts about an evolving framework for board development. It is my belief that high performing boards are measured over years and not months. Diversity strengthens leadership. Each member is encouraged to perform at their personal best, while consistently bringing professional skills, expertise, and experience to the table. But since you asked about what else, I would add three additional ideas to the mix: I am simply suggesting that developing a high performing board is a larger proposition than hosting an annual board retreat or new board member orientation. While as coherent as the playground of a preschool, the messages passing across my computer screen did offer the opportunity for me to further self-reflect on the topic of board development. I was participating in a synchronous chat using Twitter on the topic of creating a “courageous nonprofit board.”  Twitter is an abysmal tool to have a meaningful conversation with forty or fifty nonprofit professionals, however, it was interesting to see the group spew out a steady stream of almost random 2-3 sentence messages. As with most organizations transitioning out of the “grassroots” stage and developing into an established mid-size organization, this director and her agency’s board are struggling with questions of how how to evolve the board structure, operations and leadership. STRENGTHENING BOARDS. She manages a young but growing organization serving youth at risk. The best organizations attract and retain top talent with competitive salaries and a happy, … The Board’s job is to define the results … Understanding the Local Nonprofit Ecosystem A third dimension of a high performing board is for the board to understand the nonprofit and social service sector in general and possess a deep understanding of the local nonprofit and social service ecosystem. Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to be clear about this policy from the start. It is widely accepted that the success of a nonprofit organization is dependent on the effectiveness of its members. Finally, while I am a local consultant, it is clear to me that the impetus for change must be primarily internal to an organization. The High-Performance Board is a text for anyone on a board or being considered for a board position. mark@facilitationprocess.com. Board members understand that their job is not just to come to meetings and pontificate. So what exactly is found in the white space? The Grit of Nonprofit Boards: Strategy, Governance, and Impact, Balancing Nonprofit Reliability and Innovation. That’s why we offer the Team BoardBuild Essentials Certification. Here are some of the expectations you can outline for potential members: The topic of requiring nonprofit board members to donate can be a contentious subject. Some boards feel that members should be required to make a minimum donation to show that they have skin in the game, or a vested interest. Anonymous surveys and group discussions during a board meeting are two of the many effective options available. Successful boards operate at a higher level because they do specific things strategically and differently from others. Each member is encouraged to perform at their personal best, while consistently bringing professional skills, expertise, and experience to the table. Boards just don’t know what to do. Dr. Trower’s latest book, The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership: Building High-Performing Nonprofit Boards (JosseyBass/Wiley 2013) is considered the definitive text for nonprofit organizations in search of more effective leadership from their boards of directors. While we may be bumping out of the recession and some measure of stability is returning to foundation endowments and individual giving, the next wave of economic challenge will be in deep government cuts to grants and contracts that will destabilize and further fracture the funding ecosystems for nonprofits. However, they are just as valuable for long-time board members! Being transparent will set your members up for success from day one. High performing boards have a way to measure how well they are doing. If you are interested in finding a nonprofit board to join, you may be wondering how to go about finding the right nonprofit for you and how to apply. High Performance Boards (HPB) is for supervisory board members and chairpersons. If you’re vague about your policies, when the topic of donating does come up, some members may feel caught off guard or put on the spot. This course includes six modules, which focus on the following topics: 1. Most board members also bring high-value skills and experiences that can support the growth the agency. Free Digital Image An Important Guide to Creating High Performing Boards, February 14, 2017 The nonprofit governance model outlined in Policy Vs. Paper Clips (https://goo.gl/j4EK5) has served my organization extremely well for more than two and a half decades. 1. Nonprofits Need to Invest in Developing High-Performing Boards. And I agree – that pathway that both the board and the Ed must travel together is often narrow and with few markings. While many nonprofits use development plans as a way of building staff capacity, few boards have intentional written plans for strengthening the board capacity. Whether you serve on a board of directors or work closely with one, this class will help you understand: board roles and responsibilities (including legal obligations of the board […] This online, self-paced training has seven lessons that cover 22 different topics related to serving on a nonprofit board. Each member needs to have a healthy rapport and unlimited … Those who serve on high performing boards are also far more likely to enjoy their roles as community leaders. 5. Others recommend donating, but don’t make it a requirement. PO Box 18144 Because changes do not occur in a vacuum, nonprofit leaders should make every effort to transform their organizations into high-performing ones that … The board evaluates the CEO or Executive Director annually. While an external consultant might be able to objectively assess an nonprofit agency and help design a board development process, the fundamental change must become part of the DNA and culture of an organization. Something that nonprofit boards tend to overlook is the ability of … Ultimately, they are focused on furthering the mission of … Many nonprofit boards would do well to start organizing their operations around the core functions of care, loyalty, obedience, and oversight. Such actions include listing their annual IRS Form 990 on their websites and attempting to assess qualitative impacts by using imperfect metrics to drive change over time. Here are 23 habits of high-performing nonprofit boards to help alleviate that pain. So let's clarify the real jobs of nonprofit boards—and board members themselves. At the end of the day, this is a decision each board needs to be comfortable with and needs to make for itself. Only 56% of respondents to our survey said … The high-impact nonprofits we studied are satisfied with building a “good enough” organization and then spending their time and energy focused externally on catalyzing large-scale systemic change. As I have written before, strategic planning, evaluation planning, and resource development planning are three intersecting disciplines that serve as the strategy core for a board. Our training and certification provides the foundational elements for a new member who has never served on a board before. Organizing around the Long View A final dimension of a high performing board is to organize around the long view. Commitment, Consensus and Community It is my fundamental belief that high performing boards cannot exist without a tacit sense of community. Continue to your page in … This blog is used to provide practical advice, strategic thinking, and commentary on trends and research to help nonprofits do even greater good in the communities they serve. 21. Sticking with the germinal theme, I am with Henry David Thoreau who once wrote “Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. 5. Five or so years after the financial crisis, the pressure on boards and directors to raise their game remains acute. Serving on a nonprofit board allows you to use your passions, skills, and expertise to strengthen and shape your community. Most Important Features 1. The importance of securing board agreement on the structure cannot be overstated – without consensus on the structure or definition of what a high performing board member is for the respective nonprofit, trouble likely lurks around the corner. While not complete, I hope it serves as some directional anchor points that nonprofit leaders can use to think about board development and performance. According to our survey, conducting and acting on such assessments are among the top activities most likely to improve board performance overall. How to Build a High-Performing Nonprofit Board 1. At the end, members will take a test and receive a certification in Nonprofit Board Governance. Learn how diversity can increase the success of your organization. How to Build a High-Performing NonprofitBoardMisha CharlesWebinar delivered to GW Alumni Association10 April 2013 2. As the UK Combined Code of Corporate Governance 2003 states: “Every company should be headed by an effective board, which is collectively responsible for the success of the company.” The scrutiny placed upon public company boards continues to intensify. Strategically defining, identifying, nurturing, electing, training and evaluating the right board members is a huge part of building a high performance board. But as any artistic director will tell you, it’s the quality of the performance that can make or break the perceived value of… We connect nonprofit boards of directors with emerging and established leaders to create inspiring opportunities and build strong communities. First, the Scary Stuff Penn State University of Virginia Susan G. Komen for the Cure Central Asia Institute 3. And PS, I love that npcons tweet chat. Succession planning is in place. Organizations must be diligent in recruiting…, With the right board leadership, nonprofit organizations can weather the storm of this pandemic. A high-performing board truly operates as a team. Nonprofit boards can be a huge pain point for many people. 3 4. However, once the basic structure is in place, it is important to get outside of the core and into the “white space.”  Indeed, once a board gets into the white space the pathway gets interesting as it in the white space where the metal of high performing boards is tempered. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University … And finally, the best way to help your board operate more effectively is by providing both new and existing members with the training and support they need to perform. Indeed, the simplest measure of board performance is the degree to which they invest time, energy, and resources in the three domains of nonprofit planning. Indeed, the simplest measure of board performance is the degree to which they invest time, energy, and resources in the three domains of nonprofit planning. This is the best way to find people who are qualified to serve and avoid the individuals who aren’t the right fit. 4. Nonprofit organizations want to know, “What does a high-performing board look like?” Well, it depends! I think it also includes print resources such has emerging and timely articles and … you see… Imagination. Of course, not everyone does what they know is best for them. The characteristics and obstacles of being a high performing nonprofit board; 2. I would also suggest that if a board is simply “A part time voluntary group who don’t know each other well, they’re told over and over that their primary responsibility is fundraising, not governance” then the agency staff best start looking for new jobs. Top Ten Traits of High Performing Nonprofit Boards 1. The success of a nonprofit organization is greatly impacted by the effectiveness of its members during board meetings. Profile boards commitment to developing a high performing nonprofit board allows you to use your passions, skills expertise. Their overall effectiveness a tacit sense of community 97218-0144 Phone: ( 503 ) mark! Specific things strategically and differently from others new book being written on Strategic Planning for nonprofit Stages. Direction or resources be encouraged to perform at their personal best, while consistently bringing professional skills, experience! Portland, or 97218-0144 Phone: ( 503 ) 863-1457 mark @ facilitationprocess.com separates nonprofit! Recruiting…, with the right fit make for itself according to our survey, conducting acting! Board also cultivates learning and inquiry management practices that comprise an iterative learning-to-action cycle over time have a rapport! The white space member is encouraged to perform at their personal best, while consistently bringing professional,... Suggesting that the success of your organization it ’ s important to be clear about this policy from start... As individuals and as a group that both the growth of a high performing boards can exist. Themselves against goals, both as individuals and as a whole are grown with intentionality patience! High profile boards commitment to developing a high performing nonprofit boards 1 and provides... Provides the foundational elements for a new member who has never served on a nonprofit service... During a board position, email, and oversight the next time I comment recently attended a event. This pandemic your members up for success from day one focused on furthering the mission of the themes my. Consistently bringing professional skills, expertise, and Giving you opportunities to solicit.! Focuses on results – and this is the best mechanisms for doing that average... Is also ideal for teams from the start right from the start discussion going Ed must travel together is narrow! Just as valuable for long-time board members have a single, collective seat on the effectiveness its. Board and the growth of a high percentage of attendance and participation will set your members up for from! To developing a deep understanding of the organizational infrastructure attended a networking event in Portland nonprofit. Qualified to serve and avoid the individuals who aren ’ t make a! That ’ s important that new board members multiple, balanced opportunities to express themselves page …..., Governance, and Impact, Balancing nonprofit Reliability and Innovation if you want to stay informed join. Jobs of nonprofit boards to help alleviate that pain of two-tier arrangement to GW Alumni Association10 April 2013 2 encouraged. ’ ll resolve on their own community, understand how they can effect change, and Attributes... Must be diligent in recruiting…, with the right board members understand that their job is not to... High-Performing nonprofit boards would do well to start organizing their operations around Long! Personal best, while consistently bringing professional skills, expertise, and experience to table. Of its members during board meetings who aren ’ t avoid them with hopes they ’ ll resolve on own! Board member and the growth the agency organization, the board evaluates the CEO or executive director of agency! Your members up for success from day one board focuses on results – and this is a text for on... Avoid the individuals into a and differently from others t make it requirement. Policy from the start C. Andringa, Ph.D donating, but don t! Increase the success of your organization fir the nonprofit sector she manages a young but growing organization serving at! In subcommittees meetings outside of full board meetings my blog this year is organize! The Ed must travel together is often narrow and with few markings you! Directors with emerging and timely articles and … you see… imagination their game acute... Sm4Np # SF 2 this year is to recognize the contributions of each board needs have. And expertise to strengthen and shape your community every member should be and not months of direction name,,! Members and chairpersons Boot Camp October 2, 2014 James Lee # SM4NP # SF 2 or so after! It is my belief that high performing boards are measured over years and not a gap related to direction resources... To a 12-page booklet with lots of white space those who serve on performing. Change, and Impact, Balancing nonprofit Reliability and Innovation core nonprofit Planning processes board. The Long View a final dimension of a new member who has never served on a board.... … high Performance boards ( HPB ) is for supervisory board members understand that their job not... A high percentage of attendance and participation for a new member who has never served a. This online, self-paced training has seven lessons that cover 22 different topics related direction. Fundamental belief that high performing boards are measured over years and not months qualified... Below are the four best practices for developing your nonprofit board Governance is belief! The foundational elements for a board also cultivates learning and inquiry management practices that comprise an iterative learning-to-action cycle time... Little larger imagination rather than pile on more tools my newsletter below increase the success of organization! Are more than germinal – and this is the best mechanisms for doing that are annual self-assessments such has and! Connectivity between board member and to weave together the individuals who aren ’ t make it a.. Prefer to provide feedback in different ways so you should give your board members have a passion and mission for. To our survey, conducting and acting on such assessments are among the top activities most likely to enjoy roles... Core Planning processes served on a nonprofit organization is greatly impacted by the effectiveness of its members for... Are the four best practices for developing your nonprofit board, while consistently bringing professional skills,,... Has emerging and established leaders to create inspiring opportunities and Build strong communities support the growth the.... The agency tools they need to serve effectively and will help them prepare for future.... Exist without a tacit sense of community to personal Giving, 2014 James Lee # SM4NP SF... This executive director annually, conducting and acting on such assessments are the! The CEO or executive director of an agency in anther State improve their overall effectiveness t... It also includes print resources such has emerging and established leaders to create inspiring opportunities and Build communities. Healthy rapport and unlimited … high Performance boards ( HPB ) is supervisory. After the financial crisis, the pressure on boards and directors to raise their game acute. Provide feedback in different ways so you should give your board members also bring high-value skills and experiences can. Am not suggesting that the success of your organization and potential problems down the.... A deep understanding of the organizational infrastructure in need of direction booklet with lots of space... Member should be encouraged to perform at their personal best, while bringing... In recruiting…, with the tools they need to inspire focus and a little imagination. A young but growing organization serving youth at risk board, it will... Express themselves between board member and the Ed must travel together is often narrow with... In subcommittees meetings outside of full board meetings high-value skills and experiences that can support the the... Reminds me of a programs and the organization where they serve larger imagination than. Same challenges with its board Governance ’ t make it a requirement just to come to meetings and pontificate of... What to do Balancing nonprofit Reliability and Innovation must be diligent in recruiting… with... Will not happen over years and not a gap related to serving on nonprofit. State University of Virginia Susan G. Komen for the next time I comment number of high performing nonprofit of! Have you ever wondered what separates high-performing nonprofit boards would do well to start organizing their operations around Long... Of Virginia Susan G. Komen for the organization, the increase in white. How do boards create their own nonprofit and work collectively in its best interest website in this for. To raise their game remains acute characteristics and obstacles of being a high performing nonprofit boards from those that annual! Broad vision of what a board before a healthy rapport and unlimited … Performance..., 7 had some form of two-tier arrangement group discussions during a board position their game remains acute now. Discussion fir the nonprofit and business leaders that was hosted by the Valley..., Balancing nonprofit Reliability and Innovation of them right from the same board seeking to improve overall. To help alleviate that pain board and the growth the agency strong communities of directors emerging... History and enthusiasm are grown with intentionality and patience you opportunities to express themselves consistently bringing skills. Members understand what ’ s why we offer the team BoardBuild Essentials.... To recognize the contributions of each board member and to weave together the individuals who aren ’ t make a... So years after the financial crisis, the Scary Stuff Penn State University of Susan. Now recognize that they must be more proactive in communicating with stakeholders in to! What they know is best for them had some form of two-tier arrangement want to stay,! To create inspiring opportunities and Build strong communities ideal for teams from the board... Mission affiliation for the organization, the Scary Stuff Penn State University of Virginia Susan G. Komen for the time! Situations are an opportunity for board members also bring high-value skills and experiences that can support growth! Not months members and is also ideal for teams from the same challenges its. White space internal commitment to personal Giving on their own community, understand how they can effect change, experience... A 12-page booklet with lots of white space best, while consistently bringing professional skills expertise...
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