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Showing posts from June, 2011

Can I Work with this Board?

MOST EVERY NONPROFIT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HAS A BONE TO PICK with his or her board at one time or another.  If you talk to enough directors you soon have a lengthy list of complaints mostly clustered around the biggies:  the board doesn't do enough fundraising (that's probably #1), the board is unfocused, the board doesn't respect the work I do, the board doesn't seem to know or care about the work the organization does.  Perhaps you have a favorite I've missed that you'd like to share. If you read those surveys where boards and staff independently rate the work of the board, the board always thinks they're doing a bang-up job, while executive directors almost uniformly think boards under-perform.  Definitely staff leaders have pretty high (and in some cases unrealistic) expectations for their boards no matter the size, mission or sophistication of their organizations.  What I suspect staff leaders don't always take into account is the fact that no board w…

Recruiting Entrepreneurial Leadership

AS MUCH AS NONPROFITS NEED FORWARD-THINKING, entrepreneurial staff leadership, they need it just as much in the board room.  Recruiting for it is not unlike recruiting for entrepreneurship in the CEO -- it requires definition and identification of some key attributes around which conversation and questions can be had. My not-so-official definition of nonprofit entrepreneurship -- be it social or cultural -- is an organization's willingness to shift its perspectives to find opportunities and partnerships in unexpected places, reset old boundaries to expand audiences and, in doing so, use the strengths of its mission to diversify and/or grow income streams.  And woe be the entrepreneurial CEO who doesn't have a like-thinking board to support and advance her efforts. Cultural and social entrepreneurs share some or all of the following attributes:   They see and understand the relevancy of the work and the cultural/social value it providesThey can make value connections forward and b…