nonprofit management

The Nonprofit Board As a Stereotype For Its Organization

The Nonprofit Board As a Stereotype For Its Organization

By: Eugene Fram

How stakeholders and potential donors view a nonprofit board can easily be used to stereotype the entire nonprofit, even if it is offering good service!    Following are some major differences between what might be called a “modern” board, one that has grown and has exited its start-up stage and a “conservative” board, one that has grown, but the board still operates as if it were a start-up stage. (more…)

Executing A Nonprofit Organization’s Planning Function With Radar & Traffic Cops

Executing A Nonprofit Organization’s Planning Function With Radar & Traffic Cops 

By Eugene Fram

A nonprofit board has the primary responsibility for ensuring that proposed programs and services that the organization can offer are in the best interest of the clients it serves and the community or membership it represents.

Specifically the board’s board planning and resource committee provides the “radar” for the nonprofit board and also acts as its “traffic Cop.”  <–more–> It provides the radar by evaluating whether the organization is being correctly positioned to meet the current and future needs of clients.  As a traffic cop, it helps make certain that new board projects align with the mission, are completed in a timely manner and that wise use is made of volunteers’ efforts and time.

The committee has an obligation to seek the best sources of information for policy changes and to review and filter proposed changes that come before it, as suggested by the staff, board, volunteers and community members.

The entire nonprofit board is responsible for monitoring the implementation of adopted changes, which should be those that best fit the organization’s mission, vision, values and resources.

Source: Policy vs. Paper Clips, Third Edition (2011), p. 102. 

My blog site:





How to know when a nonprofit board has achieved a positive culture?

How to know when a nonprofit board has achieved a positive culture?

Nonprofit board culture is really about having chemistry that works.  Is there transparency and openness?  It is an intangible, but it is critical.  Is there a spirit of inquiry?  That means, for example, that one director can disagree with another director or with the CEO without being hostile or being viewed as hostile for having an opposing opinion. (more…)

Att: Nonprofit Board Members, Trustees & Managers: Complimentary Leader’s Guide for Policy vs. Paper Clips

I thought some followers might be interested in the Leader’s Guide for my Book Policy vs. Paper Clips Third Edition (2011).   The book is available in paperback and kindle formats on 

Leader’s Guide for Policy Vs Paper Clips–Third Edition

by Dr. Eugene H. Fram, Professor Emeritus

E. Philip Saunders College of Business Rochester Institute of Technology
1 West Edith Ave (A103)
Los Altos, California 94022 | 650-209-5724)

While Dr. Fram is certainly an advocate for the Corporate Governance model, you don’t have to be a believer to find a number of gems applicable to all nonprofit governance issues contained now in his just-released third edition of Policy vs. Paper Clips.
Mike Burns

President of BWB Solutions, “Nonprofit Board Crisis,” April 5, 2011

Copyright 2011 by Eugene Fram


Using This Guide

The third edition of Policy vs. Paper Clips can be effectively used as a discussion vehicle for one-day executive seminars on NONPROFIT GOVERNANCE targeted to chief executives and board directors.

The book’s strength is based on recognizable problems and opportunities covered within a compelling storyline. (more…)

What’s required to develop a positive nonprofit board culture?

What’s required to develop a positive nonprofit board culture?


  1. In order to maintain trust between the board chair and the CEO, the board chair must be certain that the evaluation of the organization and the personal evaluation of the CEO are inclusive, i.e., cover a balance of the most relevant outcomes.
  2. The interpersonal chemistry between the board chair and the CEO must be a positive one.  If the interpersonal chemistry is poor, civil discourse at meetings is hard to maintain.
  3. The CEO needs to be flexible. He or she needs to accommodate to a new boss every year or two and can’t become complacent.  The CEO needs to be alert to the fact the board, often initialed by a new chair, may want to move in a new direction. 


Directors & CEO Alert: Never underestimate the power of the established board culture as a barrier when attempting to make changes.  However in some instances culture can be an asset in change management.



Source: “Policy vs. Paper Clips” Third Edition, 2011, pp. 156-157.




Nonprofit & Trustee Director’s Alert! Watch your organization’s reputation.

Nonprofit & Trustee Directors Alert!  Watch your organization’s reputation.

In contrast to business firms, nonprofit and trustee boards can be against a brick wall when the reputations of their organizations go south.   In the commercial environment, (more…)

What can a nonprofit board of directors do about “displaced directors”?

What can a nonprofit board of directors do about “displaced directors”?

Displaced directors are board members who can’t adapt to a more modern board model or a new CEO and management group.  Traditionally, they want to be involved in operations, a few, at the extreme, want to micromanage the CEO.

Obviously, some of these people will resign,   but what can a CEO or board chair do (more…)