After three decades of immersion in the nonprofit culture, I occasionally allow myself to imagine what it would be like to start all over again. Assuming I were in the process of founding a new nonprofit I would have the authority to choose my own team! In this hypothetical, I could shape the mode of governance and select the participants I think would interface most effectively!
Here are some of the decisions I might make based on current realities:(more…)
Better Board Governance. Is it the same for both business & nonprofit organizations?
By: Eugene Fram Free Digital Photo
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Both BoardSource in 2015 and the Charted Global Management Accountant (CGMA) in 2012 have issued reports on improving board governance. The former group focuses on nonprofit boards and the latter focuses on business boards globally.* Both the nonprofit and business organization reports listed the following prime areas for board improvement or focus: The CGMA report called for improved strategy development & risk analysis; better boardroom behaviors; better relationships between board & management. The BoardSource report asked for improved focus on strategy, with much less emphasis on operations; more board commitment, engagement, & attendance; better self-assessment, recruitment & development.
Although the CGMA report does not differentiate the types (strategic vs. operational strategy) the “risk oversight” notation can indicate there is a need for greater board focus on long-term strategy. For nonprofit boards, the strategic side of planning is often neglected. There has been a decades-long board culture support for directors’ involvement in operational decisions, often leading to board micromanagement and less strategic interest.
What Role Should Directors Play in Over-viewing Nonprofit Management/Staff Talent?
Nonprofit boards rarely develop an in-depth strategy for assessing its organization’s human capitol. Some will keep informal tabs on the CEO’s direct reports to prepare for the possibility of his/her sudden departure or is incapacitated. Others –smaller organizations with fewer than 20 employees—need only a basic plan for such an occurrence.
Need for Strategy: In my view, maintaining a viable talent strategy to assess staff and management personnel is a board responsibility, albeit one that is often ignored. The latter stems from the constant turnover of nonprofit directors whose median term of service is 4 years—hardly a lifetime commitment. Like for-profit directors whose focus is on quarterly earning results, their nonprofit counterparts are more interested in resolving current problems than in building sufficient bench strength for the organization’s long-term sustainability. (more…)
Top Factors For Improving Nonprofit Directors’ Board Experiences
By: Eugene Fram
Spencer Stuart, an international placement firm, recently asked 500 directors who serve on for-profit boards to name the top factors that would reasonably improve their board experience. (http://bit.ly/1D14NFU) Their answers also resonate in the nonprofit arena. (more…)
How Competent Are Nonprofit Boards In Strategic Planning?
By: Eugene Fram
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“Unfortunately, boards of directors have no clear model to follow when it comes to developing the strategic roles that is best suited to the (organization) they oversee. … More importantly, the board must play a role that matches the strategic needs of the (nonprofit) and the state of its (mission’s) sector.” (http://bit.ly/16e4kT8) For both nonprofits and for-profits the strategic plan needs to be updated or revised every three to five years in a 21st century environment. (more…)
Peter Rinn, Breakthrough Solutions Group,* published a list of weak nonprofit board practices. Following are some of the items listed and my estimation of what can be done about them, based on my experiences as a nonprofit board director, board chair and consultant.
• Dumbing down board recruitment – trumpeting the benefits and not stressing the responsibilities of board membership. (more…)