Nonprofit Interpersonal communications

Nonprofit CEOs Need To Be Peers NOT Powerhouses – Interface More Frequently with Individual Board Members

Simply having board meeting contact with directors isn’t sufficient for a 21st century nonprofit CEO. Following are three professional approaches the CEO can take for developing better communications with board members. This especially applies to those, who think as I do that the board should view the CEO as a mission focused peer, not an aspiring powerhouse.

Is Your Nonprofit Board Fundraising Committee Strategically Oriented? – Revised & Updated

Is Your Nonprofit Board Fundraising Committee Strategically Oriented? – Revised & Updated

By Eugene Fram

Nonprofit boards have struggled for years to develop effective board fundraising committees and strategies. According to the BoardSource 2012 Governance Index, 46% of nonprofit CEOs gave their boards “D” or “F” grades for their fundraising efforts and fundraising is the lowest ranked of 10 board board responsibilities.

Simone Joyaux in a NPQ Newswire* raised some pertinent questions related to the “struggle to get the board to carry out its fund development role.” I have listed her questions below in bold. My overall response to her questions is that fundraising committees are not always necessary for effective fund raising! Where the committee is doing a poor job (graded average or below), it is best to cultivate and support a few board members to drive fundraising. After all, not all nonprofit directors have a strategic orientation. (more…)

Is Your Nonprofit Strategically Deprived? Updated & Revised

Is Your Nonprofit Strategically Deprived? Updated & Revised

By: Eugene Fram

A vital concern to the future of any nonprofit organization is frequently neglected. Responsibility for the lack of strategic planning must reside with the chief executive, board members and the tactical challenges that inevitably flow to the board.

Before a nonprofit board can begin successful strategic planning, it must: (more…)

Major Donor Has Remorse — Nonprofit Board/CEO Failed to Meaningfully Engage Him?

After the gift is received, announced and celebrated, where does a nonprofit board and its management go from there? And whose job is it to see that the donor remains meaningfully engaged and involved in the organization? These are questions that I have been thinking about after a friend brought facts of his donor experience to my attention.

Management Expectations of the Board – The Nonprofit Story – Part II Revised/Updated

Management Expectations of the Board – The Nonprofit Story – Part II Revised/Updated

I am indebted to Dr. Richard Leblanc of York University for the action headings used in this blog. The blog uses headings developed by Dr. Leblanc for his blog: “What a Board Expects from Management, and What Management Expects from a Board, January 27, 2013, York University Governance Gateway Blog. ( For reading simplicity, Dr. Leblanc’s specific quotations, which can apply to either FP or NFP boards, are noted in italics. (more…)

Chairing Nonprofit Boards or Committees? Beware of Accolades!

Chairing Nonprofit Boards or Committees? Beware of Accolades!

By Eugene Fram

“Great Meeting!” That’s the pro forma exit line often delivered by nonprofit volunteers to the chair when the meeting is over. The meeting may or may not have been productive; the leader may or may not have been stellar. But it’s in the volunteer’s DNA to toss a parting compliment to the chair, also a volunteer. Here are my suggestions for conducting a meeting that will have at least a chance of earning the accolades. (more…)

The Challenge of the Nonprofit Board Meeting: Some Tips for Board Chairs

The Challenge of the Nonprofit Board Meeting: Some Tips for Board Chairs

By Eugene Fram

The new director sits down at his first board meeting and turns to the director sitting beside him. “What am I supposed to do?” he asks the more experienced director who replies, “Pity the Board Chair!”

One of the biggest challenges for a president or board chair is to run a tight and meaningful meeting. Without careful planning and new approaches, the obligatory periodic 1.5 hours with the directors can also be a major frustration. Directors often either don’t show up or appear to be bored, tired, disinterested clock-watchers during this important effort to collectively oversee the state of the organization.

Here are some ideas- some innovative, some old stand-byes- that may help the chair ”Preside” more effectively. Be sure to sit down with the CEO well before the scheduled meeting to set the agenda, establish meeting goals and brainstorm the format. Anticipate the inevitable “bumps in the road’ and how best to handle them. Agree to try a new idea occasionally to facilitate discussion, nurture participation, and generally engage the directors. (more…)

Nonprofit Board/Staff Relationships: An Uncomfortable Partnership?

Nonprofit Board/Staff Relationships: An Uncomfortable Partnership?

By: Eugene Fram

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. (more…)

The Nonprofit Overhead Myth – Devil Is In the Details?

The Nonprofit Overhead Myth – Devil Is In the Details?

By: Eugene Fram

Do nonprofits have to consistently report low overhead percentages for administration and marketing to satisfy donors? Do these modest overhead percentages do more long-term damage to the nonprofit’s ability to fulfill it mission than short-term good? * (more…)

Spreading the Good Word: Nonprofit Board Protocol Needed?

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. (more…)