Monday, July 11, 2011

Serving on a Nonprofit Board is Good Business

This summer several blog contributors are presenting a series of audio conferences entitled Serving on a Nonprofit Board is Good Business. The series prepares individuals to serve on boards of nonprofit associations. While aimed at board members, executive directors can also learn from them. A recent session, Engage! Provide Oversight, lead by Dr. Terrie Temkin provided these helpful tips:

1. Terrie suggested developing a checklist to help complete all board essentials quickly. She shared that most boards spend ALL their time on these essential but routine items, which leaves little time for thoughtful strategic conversations. Do you have a checklist for routine items? When can you develop one?

2. While you might already have one or more skeptics on your board, Terrie suggested you make this role available to everyone by creating a “skeptic of the day.” This person asks dig-deeper questions to stop automatic group consensus and encourages thoughtful questioning. By sharing the role you will hear a new voices and new questions.

3. You can’t be everywhere. Terrie recommended dedicating a few minutes at each meeting for a “By the Way Conversation.” During this time people share what they have heard about your organization and key community events that impact it. What can you discover if you regularly ask your board members what is new? What events did they attend since you last met? What did they learn? “By the Way Conversations” help you to learn all over the community.

In a few weeks the group presenting this series will meet for a planning session. Do you have any interest in a series like this for your board members? (The current series is for members of the Society for the Advancement of Consulting only.) Would you be interested in a similar series for executive directors? Let us know your thoughts so we can include them in our plans. Thanks!

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