Unwritten Protocols for Directors Can Boost Nonprofits’ Effectiveness

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Unwritten Protocols for Directors Can Boost Nonprofits’ Effectiveness

By:  Eugene Fram                                        Free Digital Photo

Nonprofit boards are governed by a series of obligations —some are clearly defined as legal responsibilities such as financial actions. Others, however, are less clearly defined and relate to people who are, in some way, associated with the organization. Guidelines to these diverse interactions are not typically archived in policies but are important to the overall professionalism of the board. They include consideration of its: board structure, internal operations, recruitment methods and leadership style. (more…)

Resolution for 2017—Focus on Long-Term Nonprofit Sustainability

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Resolution for 2017—Focus on Long-Term Nonprofit Sustainability

By: Eugene Fram                            Free Digital Photo

Nonprofit boards, like their business counter-parts, can become complacent and lose their vitality. This sets the stage for nonprofit disruptions by the social and technical environments that surround them.   Following are some crucial priority questions (listed in bold) that have been raised for business boards. * They easily can be modified to drive the thinking of nonprofit directors and help them keep nonprofits sustainable and productive. (more…)

Practical suggestions to improve nonprofit boards’ outcomes and impacts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                           Free Digital Image

 

Do any of these describe you or your nonprofit board members?

·         Don’t have a way to effectively measure “client impact.”

·         Must build CEO/board fundraising capacity.

·         Have trustees who “micromanage” management.

·         Never get to strategic discussions. Focus is strictly operations.

·         Need a broad framework that separates policy & strategy development from operational activities.

·         Have a board/staff relationship that isn’t built on trust.

·         Need task forces that deliver more effective, timely results.

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Eugene Fram, Ed.D, Professor Emeritus

frameugene@gmail.com

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Stay on That Nonprofit Board!

id-100264818Stay on That Nonprofit Board!

By: Eugene Fram                      Free Digital Photo

Viewer Favorite Updated and Revised

Gene Takagi, noted San Francisco attorney, who specializes in nonprofit organizations published an article listing 12 reasons for resigning from a nonprofit board. It is worth reading. (http://bit.ly1r2M5Hi)

BUT

Nonprofit directors often become impatient with the slow pace of progress toward positive changes that will  impact client services. Here are some actions that may change the situation, improve service to clients and prepare the organization for any long-term mission disruptions. These changes may be necessary to sustain the nonprofit in uncertain times.    (more…)

How Does Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Impact A Nonprofit Board?

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How Does Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Impact A Nonprofit Board?

By: Eugene Fram                   Free Digital Photo

There are many ways to assess the balance of capabilities on a nonprofit board. EDs and board chairs are generally familiar with the implications of terms like IQ (cognitive ability) and EQ (emotional intelligence). New research has added a third characteristic— cultural intelligence or CQ. * Obviously, CQ comes into focus when boards are dealing with global or international issues. But its usefulness is still germane to community-based and/or domestically focused professional/trade associations. Making a change in board strategy is at best a challenging process. But when that plan collides with cultural differences, board culture will trump change. To paraphrase Peter Drucker’s pronouncement—“Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch.”

Following are a few of the many types of nonprofit CQ divisions that I have observed:

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Should Nonprofit Boards Be A Boot Camp for Corporate Executives?

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Should Nonprofit Boards Be A Boot Camp for Corporate Executives?

By: Eugene Fram                  Free Digital Photo

Alice Korngold, President of Korngold Consulting, suggests, “Nonprofit board service is the ultimate leadership opportunity, giving business executives the personal and professional skills they need… .“ * She suggests that the following abilities can be developed from such experiences. But the neophyte  director can become attuned to some inappropriate nonprofit practices and promote them on subsequent nonprofit board assignments.  (more…)

Nonprofits in Limbo: Preparing for the Unexpected

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Nonprofits in Limbo: Preparing for the Unexpected

By: Eugene Fram

As the nation is reeling from the jolt of the 2016 election results, I happened to read a recent report from Deliotte Consulting suggesting ways that for-profit organizations can improve their performance in uncertain times. The report centers on key drivers of board effectiveness that, in my opinion, resonate with similar nonprofit situations. Most nonprofit boards typically live with uncertainty and are perennially “on the edge.” Here are some ideas from the Deloitte * report that, when adapted early, can bolster their operation in times of disruption.

  • Bold, decisive leadership: Nonprofit boards are responsible for donor and charitable types of revenues that place directors in a public trust position. In addition board members typically will only be active for a median tenure period of four to six years. As a result they often become overly conservative in their strategic views and may accept CEOs that “mind-the-store” with modest incremental growth annually.

To prevent the organizational boat from capsizing in the perpetual seas of uncertain times, the board needs rely on  the best forward looking information about strategy, culture, people and clients. All of this must be in solid  alignment with a substantial mission, or a modified one if the external environment requires it. This allows the  nonprofit to cut through the cultural barriers that impede strategy development. As Peter Drucker has noted, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast every morning.”

  • Opportunity mind-set: Even when the organization is prospering, the board has a responsibility to press for innovations and to support small-scale experiments as called for in a “Lean Management” structure. Within this structure, the staff can test the waters via experiments to move more boldly, as long as the experiments yield positive results. **
  • Stakeholders: Nonprofits have a multitude of stakeholders, complicated by the fact that often those who receive the service are not the ones who support or pay for it.   This requires management to balance the needs of the various groups and that can call for heart-breaking decisions. For example, should revenues be allocated to marketing or used for needed client programs? To solve the dilemmas Deliotte suggests, “Building valuable, open relationships across multiple stakeholder groups is key to building trust and organizational resilience”
  • Match fit: Boards have a responsibility to motivate the nonprofit to realistically evaluate the tensions between new models and existing ones. Two examples show contrasting results. Easter Seals boards perceived the market changes involved with polio vaccines and modified their missions.   Nonprofit counseling agencies failed to assess the positive impacts of new pharmaceuticals and the need for face-to face counseling declined. To develop a fit, Deliotte suggests, “the board and the organization need to be agile and open.”
  • Culture, culture, and culture: Nonprofit boards’ cultures play a key role in determining the level of risk the board is willing to take. With key drivers, nonprofit boards have to take reasonable risks to survive and even encourage management to take it. Small scale, yet bold, experimentations that are jointly reviewed by board and management provide a “Lean Management” approach that has been used by venture supported business firms.
  • Cracking the diversity Code: Instead of recruiting new board members and maximizing the best they have to offer, nonprofit boards try to orient new board members to the current culture. A new member with a financial planning background, for example, will be asked to work with the CFO on accounting related problems. Instead, he/s should be asked to develop a long term-term financial plan.   Board background (such as strategic planning abilities, critical thinking) diversity, as well as demographic (such as gender, ethnicity) ones, must be carefully crafted and utilized as well as demographics.
  • Curiosity is Key: Deliotte Consulting concludes, “Directors should get out of the ‘same old’ board room, and should even look across borders to learn from approaches in (different nonprofits) and companies… . Developing news skills and insights are essential for innovation and should be sought to create the questioning and challenging environment needed to imagine, inspire and deliver better outcomes (and impacts). Complacency (in uncertain times) can be a killer.”

*https://www.google.com/search?q=Sevn+ways+to+im%5Bprove+board+effectivness+in+uncertgain+times&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#q=Seven+ways+to+improve+board+effectiveness+in+uncertain+times

**https://www.snpo.org/publications/sendpdf.php?id=2014

 

 

 

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