Endorsements

Steve Smith worked with us to re-build our board of directors in 2008. Board members came to understand "best practice" and developed job descriptions that are still informing our work. Steve helped us to pull together stakeholders and identify new community resources. We were surprised to realize the support available right in our own community! Board members felt comfortable with Steve right from the start, he took time to understand our organization and made sure that all of our work was a good fit for us. Steve tailored his work to our needs and the board took full ownership of the results
Chris Casserly, Executive Director of Rochester NH Child Care Center

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Join the Social Media Conversation: Sunday May 1 8:00 PM EDT

Looking forward to an hour on Twitter Sunday May 1 8:00 PM on #CargillChat on Twitter with @CargillCreative Bob Cargill. The guy with the marketing sensibility that points us in smart directions on how to build Nonprofit communication effectiveness by applying social media tools. Relationship Fundraising means we first build the relationship. The donations follow when the donor gets the impression that your nonprofit is delivering value to a client base s/he feels some empathy for. It’s about the good you deliver to customers. The nonprofit is an empty shell if it’s only promoting its own survival. It’s about the primary customers you serve and how they value your service. Social media are tools that help deliver that story.

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Proper Orientation for New Board Members

Congratulations. Your Governance committee identified qualified candidates for election to the Board. There are three vacancies, so at the Annual Meeting there will be three candidates placed in nomination before the membership. So now it’s done and we’re so proud: Some new folks to inject some energy to governance at our nonprofit.
Time now to conduct the orientation. Which of course has been planned in advance. A board manual is ready containing bylaws, the past year’s minutes, an annual report and most recent audited financial statements. And of course a board member job description.
So who will conduct the orientation? The executive director and other senior staff should be there. The chair of the board or chair of the governance committee should officiate. With an agenda. And we want the Treasurer and/or chair of the Finance Committee to be present. At a breakfast or lunch gathering. The meal and meeting should take no longer than two hours. There may be video to show. We might take a look at the nonprofit website on a big screen. And what are the hot issues we’re dealing with.
This way our new folks won’t feel they’re operating in a vacuum. Self-orientation can be so hit-or-miss. Encouraging some dialogue with real give-and-take helps make key points register. And gives our new members an opportunity to show us why we have such confidence in them.
This way we’re ready for business. Sure, there will likely still be questions to get clarification on matters that might still be a bit hazy. But this is how we learn. And fulfill our legal and fiduciary duties.

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Now that We’ve Got ‘em, What Do We Do with ‘em?

So the Governance committee has been out and about seeking volunteers who would like to join our Board. And who bring something we need to the table.
They identified a volunteer on the finance committee, and one from the HR committee who have worked with us for nearly two years and feel like the move up to the Board would be a good experience.
Our Board meets 4 times a year. Twice in fall, once in winter, once in spring. Off for the summer. Our chair runs excellent meetings. Never more than two hours. Always have a client join us to tell us her story at the start of our meetings. To set the right tone.
Beyond members of standing committees, Governance committee members recruited a couple of others from the community. We were fortunate to find an estate planner at a mid-size law firm in town who cares about our mission and would like to help us get our legacy giving program off the ground. And a small business owner whose Mom was helped by one of our program professionals decided this would be her opportunity to “give back.” She has been very generous in many ways. But it was pretty clear to the volunteers on Governance that this young lady is an eager-beaver whose business is soaring and who will bring some adrenaline to our cause.
So. Four new board members joining what will be a group of fourteen. Three members will rotate off. They have hit the ceiling on term limits and, no hard feelings, agreed it was time to move on. Good to know we can call on each of them if we need them.
So. Healthy board. Strong capacity for growth.
Outlook is good.

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Good Time for Governance Committee to Search for Board Prospects

Spring is an excellent time for the Governance/Nominating Committee of the Nonprofit Board to get busy seeking candidates for the Board.
If your Board has term limits (highly recommended) you likely have some members up for renewal. And some of these might be the kind of member you want to retain. And if they are not reaching the limit of terms (common: 3 three-year terms max) it’s good to let them know the committee wants to propose that they continue. And if not, the conversation about cycling off the Board will be timely. Sooner rather than later. If attendance has been flagging, if engagement just hasn’t seemed up to par…it’s likely time to let the person know they won’t be recommended for re-election.
Meanwhile, the chair of the Governance/Nominating committee should ask the chair of the Board for a few minutes at the next meeting to let members know that the process is in motion to bring one or more new candidates to the group for consideration. And to ask colleagues for recommendations. The process should include seeking a resume from the candidate and then for a member of the committee, after the committee has seen and discussed the resumes, to send a member in to interview the prospect. Treat it like a job interview.
This way, as the year comes to an end there are candidates for consideration which can add new life and fill some skill gaps if the Board has been missing areas of expertise that we like to have. Finance. HR. Marketing. Communication.
Good luck!

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No Time for Politics

The incivility permeating our current Presidential campaign is disturbing. To me. There are many who are enjoying the nasty tone. Is this how we return American to greatness?
This can have an impact on our Board of Directors meeting. Hopefully our members will leave their politics and guns at the door and keep the meetings focused on our nonprofit mission. There might be value in discussing the tone of the campaign and how it may impact our fundraising and friendraising efforts.
So we can acknowledge the tone. And agree that it has no place in our work to serve the clients of our nonprofit.
If we can reach that consensus it puts the matter on the table and, by agreement, removes it from our united effort to accomplish the goals we’ve set for our nonprofit.

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