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Board Building a la Kay Sprinkel Grace

There are a couple of “go to” authorities in nonprofit leadership: One is Peter F Drucker, the legend who lived and worked well into his nineties, and whose Drucker Foundation morphed into Leader-to-Leader, a great source in developing sustainable nonprofit organizations. In a future blog post, I’ll talk about the strategic approach Leader-to-Leader recommends nonprofits take: very market and customer focused.
Today I want to share some wisdom of another thought leader in nonprofit leadership, board work, and particularly fund development: Kay Sprinkel Grace.
Ms. Grace has helped raise millions for Stanford University making practical application of her principles in building effective nonprofit organizations.
I highly recommend her The Ultimate Board Members Book (January, 2009, Emerson & Church). Here’s a link: It’s a quick read (she claims 60 minutes) and provides soup-to-nuts on how boards can orient themselves to advance the mission of their nonprofit.
In my work with nonprofit boards, I always trot out her presentation on AAA Boards which she presented to the Association of Nonprofit Professionals in Toronto in 2004. Here’s a link to that PDF: Boards achieve their highest level of performance when it’s clear who are the best Ambassadors, who are the best Advocates, and who are the Askers. Board members need to be clear on what their role is: their group responsibilities (fiduciary, legal, loyalty) as well as individual roles to fill. Achieving clarity of purpose and mission focus helps get the noprofit moving in the right direction. Consultants in board development to nonprofit organizations should always circle back to these fundamentals. And there is no better well to drink from than that of Kay Sprinkel Grace who helps us align our action with our mission.

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