nonprofit boards. nonprofit directors. nonprofit director term limits

Mismanagement Causes Huge Agency Failure—A Word To The Wise Nonprofit?

Mismanagement Causes Huge Agency Failure—A Word To The Wise Nonprofit?

By Eugene Fram

Rarely do failed for-profit or nonprofit organizations get a posthumous review of what actually went wrong. The collapse of one of the largest nonprofits in the US, the Federal Employment Guidance Service (FEGS) of New York City, is a noteworthy exception. Details of the causes that led to the human service’s demise were aired widely throughout NY media. * This organization had a $250 million budget, with 1900 employees who served 120,000 households covering a range of mental health and disability services, housing, home care and employment services.

Following are my interpretations of what its board should have done to avoid such a tragedy. (more…)

21st Century Nonprofit Boards Need to be Pro-Active in Strategy Development

21st Century Nonprofit Boards Need to be Pro-Active in Strategy Development

By: Eugene Fram

Most Boards do not excel at strategy planning. In fact, when the subject is included on a meeting agenda, it usually produces a general lack of enthusiasm. A recent McKinsey study * cited weakness in for-profit boards dealing with the topic. And in my opinion, similar deficits are endemic to nonprofit boards whose response to strategic proposals is often simply– “ to review and approve.”

What causes these vital governing bodies to be passive when the future of the organization is obviously at stake? First, most nonprofit boards meet between 8 and 12 times a year, for what averages to about 1.5 hours monthly. With an agenda crammed with compliance issues and staff reports, there is little time left for board members to dive deeply into a discussion of future transformative efforts on behalf of the organization. When a new strategic plan is developed (that may only occur once every 3-5 years), its implementation is not as rigorous as it should be—even in high performing boards. (more…)

CEOs Need To Develop Partnering Relationships With Board Members

 

 

CEOs Need To Develop Partnering Relationships With Board Members

By Eugene Fram               Free Digital Image

When a CEO publicly introduces a board member as “my boss,” (as I have overheard more than once) there is a problem. It’s true that both parties—CEO and board member—have specific roles in the success of a nonprofit organization. But the hierarchy of authority should be deemphasized when it comes to interpersonal connections. The most effective mindset for CEO and directors is to view each other as partners in working to achieve the organization’s mission and their impacts.

The CEO’s efforts to cultivate such relationships are key. The following are some initiatives that he/she can utilize: * (more…)

Nonprofit Chief Executives Should Have Title: President/CEO, Updated and Expanded

Nonprofit Chief Executives Should Have Title: President/CEO, Updated and Expanded
This post, over several years, has developed a record of continued viewing interest. Rarely a day passes in which the data doesn’t include one or two views, or occasionally a day in which the viewer’s data rise to five. For example, when previously updated in 2014 there were 274 post views, during 2015 there were 57 views and in the first three months of 2016 there were 27 views, indicting that the number may pass that of 2015. Perhaps the controversial nature of topic causes the longevity of interest

When nonprofit organizations reach a budget level of over $1 million and have about 10 staff members it is time to offer the chief operating officer the title of PRESIDENT/CEO. In addition, the title of the senior board volunteer should become CHAIRPERSON OF THE BOARD, and the title of EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR needs to be eliminated. Experience has shown that with a reasonably talented PRESIDENT/CEO at the helm, he/she can provide the following benefits: (more…)

Radio Program Tomorrow–March 11th.

You may find this radio program in which I am interviewed of interest.

http://tonymartignetti.com/2016/03/nonprofit-radio-march-11-2016-policy-vs-paper-clips/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=socialnetwork

How Often Do Nonprofit Board Members Need to Question Strategic Norms?

How Often Do Nonprofit Board Members Need to Question Strategic Norms?

By Eugene Fram

A new nonprofit director has a lot to learn. Considering that his/h term of service will be relatively short (typically four to six years), he/s must quickly learn the “ropes” to participate in a meaningful way. In this process, colleagues and leadership will acquaint him/h with prevailing board systems and culture—often ignoring the depth of expertise she/h can employ. Example: An expert in financial strategies may be asked to assist the CFO with accounting details, far below the person’s skill level. Oftentimes the new board member also is greeted with a mantra that says, “We’ve always done it this way.” As the director moves in his path from novice to retiree, during a short tenure, there is little opportunity to suggest innovations that differ from the accepted fundamentals and to successfully advocate for change. (more…)

Can Nonprofit Boards Strategically Reinvent Themselves?

Can Nonprofit Boards Strategically Reinvent Themselves?

By: Eugene Fram

Not many nonprofit boards look to strategic renewal/reinventing as viable options. Dedicated to a specific mission, boards may merge with related organizations as their prospects decline or simply declare victory. March Of Dines has been a classic case of redefining its mission when The Salk Vaccine limited widespread polio epidemics. Today, the nonprofit’s programs serve people with disabilities: children, adults, seniors, military personnel and veterans. (more…)

How Competent Are Nonprofit Boards In Strategic Planning?

How Competent Are Nonprofit Boards In Strategic Planning?

By: Eugene Fram

Updated Viewer Favorite

“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…)

A Nonprofit’s Reputation Rests on the Quality of its Directors

A Nonprofit’s Reputation Rests on the Quality of its Directors

By: Eugene Fram

Reputations are universally seen as valuable, but reputation risk is poorly understood. As a result, reputations are left unnecessarily at risk.*

Reputation matters in the nonprofit world. Few nonprofit boards exist today that don’t worry about how they are perceived in the communities or associations they serve. And to make sure their images remain pristine, many turn to crisis consultants and other forms of expert assistance. A tarnished reputation can have a huge impact on a vast network of stakeholders as confidence in the organization ebbs and support starts to dwindle. Nonprofit board members must be sensitive to signals of impending reputation risk and immediately roll up their sleeves in an attempt to rebuild confidence. (more…)

Nonprofit Boardroom Elephants and the ‘Nice Guy’ Syndrome: A Complex Problem

Nonprofit Boardroom Elephants and the ‘Nice Guy’ Syndrome: A Complex Problem

By: Eugene Fram

An updated and revised viewer favorite post

At coffee recently a friend serving on a nonprofit board reported plans to resign from the board shortly. His complaints centered on the board’s unwillingness to take critical actions necessary to help the organization grow.

In specific, the board failed to take any action to remove a director who wasn’t attending meetings, but he refused to resign. His term had another year to go, and the board had a bylaws obligation to summarily remove him from the board. However, a majority of directors decided such action would hurt the director’s feelings. They were unwittingly accepting the “nice-guy” approach in place of taking professional action. (more…)