More Than Passion Needed in Prospective Nonprofit Directors

(Free Digital Image)

More Than Passion Needed in Prospective Nonprofit Directors

By: Eugene Fram

What nonprofit selection committee would reject a candidate who demonstrates passion for the organization’s mission?   I can attest to the fact that in many recruitment processes, an interviewee who shows strong empathy for the cause is a “shoe-in” for the director position regardless of any obvious weakness in other skill areas. By contrast, one who appears ambivalent about the organization’s mission can be overlooked or even eliminated from the list. (more…)

Questions For Nonprofit Board Meetings—And Why They Are Needed

Questions For Nonprofit Board Meetings—And Why They Are Needed 

My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions. – Peter Drucker 

 

By: Eugene Fram 

Knowing the right questions to ask at a nonprofit board meeting is a critical part of a board member’s responsibility. Following is a list that, as a nonprofit director, I want to keep handy at meetings. * I also will suggest why I think each is important in the nonprofit environment. Compliance and overviewing management alone do not guarantee success.   (more…)

Nonprofit & Business Directors Must Be Vigilant – Board Liability Costs Could Be $2.2 Million!

Nonprofit & Business Directors Must Be Vigilant – Board Liability Costs Could Be $2.2 Million!

By: Eugene Fram                 FREE DIGITAL PHOTO

All Time Viewer Favorite

The personal cost of director inattentiveness is made painfully clear in an important federal appeals court decision. The U.S. Court of Appeals decided the decision, in re Lemington Homes, on January 26, 2015 for the Third Circuit. … [T]hese difficult facts arose from a small, nonprofit organization. … Yet the standard of director conduct applied by the appeals court is quite similar to that which might be applied to a traditional (business) corporate board. * (The case results) also addresses the appropriateness of punitive damages against officers and directors….

The court determined that (15 of 17) directors were aware of the mismanagement yet took no action, despite clear evidence of deficient care to the institution’s residents. …[T]his breach of care, (led to) $2,250,000 in joint and several compensatory damages. As such, the decision offers a particularly valuable – and practical – board education opportunity. (http://bit.ly/1GQo1jY)

The lack of nonprofit director and officer care is not unusual, possibly because directors are part-time volunteers, sometimes not understanding their potential liabilities. For one other current example see: (http://bit.ly/1GF3yer). (more…)

Raising the Bar for Nonprofit Board Engagement

Raising the Bar for Nonprofit Board Engagementid-100404653

By Eugene Fram                            Free Digital Image

It’s no secret that some directors cruise through their term of board service with minimal involvement. McKinsey Company, a well-known consulting firm, has suggested five steps that can be used to counteract this passivity in for-profit boards. * With a few tweaks, McKinsey suggestions (in bold) are relevant to the nonprofit board environment where director engagement is often a challenge.

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Nonprofit Board/Staff Relationships: An Uncomfortable Partnership?

 

Nonprofit Board/Staff Relationships: An Uncomfortable Partnership?

By: Eugene Fram   Free Digital Image

Viewer Favorite—Updated and Revised

I have always been of the opinion that nonprofit directors don’t give sufficient consideration to the relationships between the board and staff. The following passage reasserts the complexity of such relationships and why misunderstandings might occur on either side of the fence.

The (nonprofit) governance model is … confounded by the fact that the people with responsibility for oversight, resource generation, and the strategic direction are not the same people who show up every day to deliver the work that fulfills the nonprofit’s mission. …. More often than not, however, the nonprofit board is a bit ungainly and leaves board members and staff alike scratching their heads and wondering how they might fix things so it (the organization) does what it’s meant to do … The challenges are often the greatest for the boards of small to mid-sized nonprofits, where the lines between governance and management seem to be more easily blurred. * (more…)

The Nonprofit Board’s New Role In An Age of Exponential Change

 

 

 

The Nonprofit Board’s New Role In An Age of Exponential Change

By Eugene Fram                 Free Digital Image

Most nonprofit boards are being faced with huge pressures—reduced financial support, challenges in integrating new technologies, and difficulties in hiring qualified personnel at what are considered “nonprofit” wages. To survive long term, directors need to be alert to potential opportunities. These may be far from the comfort zones of current board members, CEOs and staff. (more…)

How Prepared Are Board Members for the Challenges of the Nonprofit Culture?

 

 

 

 

 

How Prepared Are Board Members for the Challenges of the Nonprofit Culture?

By: Eugene Fram        Free Digital Image

Viewer Favorite–Updated & Revised

Given that the typical tenure of a new board member is six years. And assuming that a new director’s intention is to make his/her unique contribution to the organization’s progress before he rotates off the board and is supplanted by another “new” director. With these factors in mind, I estimate that many volunteers enter the boardroom with little understanding of nonprofit culture. Even those who have served previously on business boards may initially spend valuable time in accommodating to the nuances of nonprofit practices and priorities before being poised to make contributions to the “greater good” that nonprofit create.  Nonprofits have a way of acculturating new board members to current culture in steady of allowing the new board member to insert his/h culture into the flow of nonprofit’s stream of ideas.   For example, a financial executive familiar with financial strategy may be asked to assist the  CFO with accounting questions, instead of  being asked to develop a financial  strategy for the organization.  Following are some areas that are endemic to nonprofits: (more…)