Last week, I had the opportunity to spend the day with 25 thoughtful, passionate and talented nonprofit leaders at our CEO/Executive Director Mini-Retreat. We promoted this event as a way to network, recharge the batteries, learn some new strategies and vent in a safe environment – and we accomplished all of these!
Some of our afternoon discussion focused on something I find myself saying more than I’d like: you get what you ask for. Unfortunately, many calls from nonprofit executives and board leaders are those made out of frustration and/or desperation because they’ve got an unengaged board; basically they’re not getting it. When I probe deeper, more often than not, these organizations have gotten what they asked for by downplaying the responsibilities of board service and not being clear about what they really need and expect from board members when they recruit them and throughout their term of service. To be fair, sometimes the organizations don’t know what they need – so they can’t possibly articulate it.
It doesn’t have to be this way. If you haven’t checked out one of our Nonprofit Boards 101 workshops – there is one coming up on July 10. It’s free for KNN members to send as many folks as you’d like and I guarantee anyone who attends will learn at least one new thing about how to be a better board member and strengthen the board. We also have a board governance webinar in our free SkillBuilders webinar series – you can watch this in your jammies at 2am if you want to. These two options for board governance training are not the solution, but are good tools in your toolkit – and since they are free and easy to use, there’s no excuse for not using them.
As the article we’ve included below from Nonprofit Quarterly on Financial Transactions with Board Members, this month’s Best Practices Hub topic and our Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Kentucky all clearly point out – managing conflicts of interest and many other best practices are there to ensure that when you get what you ask for, it’s an engaged, educated board of directors comprised of individuals who understand their role, put the organization first and are passionate about accomplishing the mission. Your organization deserves no less and if you aren’t getting it, it’s time to take steps to do something about it.