Sunday, January 1, 2017
I've written about resolutions for nonprofits before (see the infographic and read more here), but this year -- especially this year -- nonprofit boards will be put to the test in the face of civic dissonance, uncertain government support for education, arts, history, and science; and the continuation of dramatically shifting demographics.
So, here's my short list:
Know your organization's mission cold and I don't mean memorize the mission statement. I mean deeply and fully understand the impact your nonprofit makes to those who benefit from the work you do. Understand how you meet the need, how you excel at doing so, and why that's important. Be able to tell the stories about your organization's impact to anyone.
Get up to speed on what real governance is all about. Set goals and success measures, exercise oversight, consider the future (a lot), strategize pathways to success, and keep at it. Good governance is intentional and sustained.
Be the partner your staff leadership needs and wants. Ask what you as a board and as individual board members can do to help staff leaders. Listen. Act together.
Understand that constraints often lead to creative solutions. It's easy (and lazy) to bemoan the lack of resources. Frankly, no institution ever has enough. So, figure out how to use constraints to your advantage.
Know that you are not alone. Almost every nonprofit in the US is considering its options in the face of the next four years. We're traveling the same road, meeting similar, if not the same, challenges along the way. Reach out. Share information and knowledge. Work together.
We're part of a big, beautiful nonprofit sector. Let's all work together.