Advice for Engaging Boards

By Mary Moss Let’s look back at the last month, which seems like a year. Your first order of business was to make provisions to meet your mission even as you were shuttering your offices.  Somehow, you had to go virtual administratively and also devise new ways to meet your constituencies’ needs.  Then, in the flood of programmatic adaptations, you cancelled or postponed fundraising events, reached out to your donors and volunteers to check in, and pushed out some great annual fund appeals.  You have done a terrific job. Now, what about your boards?  The pandemic thrusts boards onto center stage to assess and reassess the risk that COVID-19 poses to the organization.  Risk management will continue to be the number one focus during the crisis, with special attention directed to program delivery and finance.  Yet there [...]

2020-04-07T19:43:51-04:00April 7th, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Special Topics|

Succession planning: What can you do now?

While the departure of an executive director is not something that can always be planned, there are things that can be done along the way to ensure the organization is not crippled when this happens, because sooner or later, it will. Executive directors play such key roles representing an organization to all of its constituents. Often, he or she really is the face of what you do, so it’s not surprising that a departure can send waves of anxiety through an organization’s staff and board. Succession planning applies also to boards of directors. Many boards have a founding board chair who has become the driving force of the organization, functioning almost as staff. It is just as critical that the board members have a plan for what happens when that person wants to step down or cannot serve any longer [...]

2015-08-20T01:45:31-04:00August 20th, 2015|All Posts, Staffing, Strategic Planning|

Show your board some love

At this year’s AFP Philanthropy Forecast, held January 26, Mary Moss led a roundtable where participants discussed the importance of strong board leadership. As part of the conversation, Mary asked participants what was on their minds. The issue most cited was that board members did not have a full understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and therefore had unclear expectations for the staff, and vice versa. Suggestions to address this issue include the following: Present a written and up-to-date job description to each potential board member before joining the board so expectations are clear from the beginning; Plan a board orientation in the first months of a new board member’s tenure that involves staff and key board members; Ask the board chair to have one-on-one meetings annually with all board members as a way to check in to see what [...]

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