Spreading the Good Word: Nonprofit Board Protocol Needed?
By: Eugene Fram
One of the pleasures of nonprofit organizational accomplishments is to communicate the very favorable impacts to their communities or trade/professional associations they serve. Yet frequently these positive results are hidden behind the proverbial bushel! The board and management lose sight of the progress made over a long time period, and the year-to-year successes are construed as routine occurrences internally and externally.
I recently noted a case where the successes have occurred annually since 1987, and the program has been nationally recognized for its impact. When ignored by the local press, the program’s president took action in a guest essay to the local paper, concluding, “…it is perplexing that one of the brightest successes in our community was not highlighted in the (paper’s youth) series.”*
I suggest that a nonprofit’s achievements need to be reported internally and to the public in a timely and meaningful way. It is the responsibility of the board or chief executive to initiate the process of communicating and/or celebrating the information of success. Perhaps a board policy or procedure of timely board review will provide the impetus and “spread the word” about the organization and its work, a significant public relations “asset.”
Is a policy or procedure necessary or should the reaction be an ad hoc one to a specific occurrence?
Your comments and experiences appreciated.
*Augustin Melendez (2013), “Guest essay: Brighter outcomes for Rochester Youth,” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, June 7th chronicle.com http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013306080019