The Board of Directors is a crucial part of a nonprofit organization. The Board, as a whole, is the Executive Director’s partner in driving the organizational strategy. They are the organization’s champions and in many cases, the leaders of the organizational fundraising strategy. The relationship between the Board and the ED/CEO is critical, and it must be healthy in order for the organization to thrive. But what that relationship actually looks like can vary greatly from organization to organization. Every nonprofit is different, so it can be challenging to understand how to foster a healthy, productive and impactful Board at our own organizations. There are so many elements that impact those relationships and structures. How do we assess, improve, grow and nurture the Board as Board Members, Board Chairs, EDs and organizations?
The following list of articles, blogs and resources serve to answer some of those questions and can be helpful for Board Members, Board Chairs and Executive Directors/CEOs.
- Joan Garry Consulting: Because Nonprofits are Messy – A First Rate Board of Directors
Joan Garry boasts an entire section on her website dedicated to Board health. There are nearly 30 blog posts and articles ranging in topics from Board recruitment to fundraising, that can help you, as a Board Member and as an ED/CEO, to build and maintain a healthy and productive Board of Directors.
- Graduate School of Stanford Business – How to Be a Better Nonprofit Board Member
This article can help to simplify our role as a Board Member. As Board Members we often bring many skills to the table, but not all are required, or are even helpful. By taking a look at these suggestions it can help us to hone our role on the Board.
- CompassPoint – 8 Steps to Better Board Meetings
We want our Board Meetings to be productive, engaging and efficient. Collaboration is central to the work we’re doing and can, at times, be fraught. These tips can help us make time for important discussions while still keeping the ball rolling.
- BoardSource – Blog
This website does just as it says on the package – it’s a great resource for Boards! This nonprofit supports excellence in governance and leadership in the nonprofit sector. Their Resources & Solutions section offers a variety of paid (and a few free) resources for Boards such as assessment tools, webinars, coaching and consulting. But their blog is a fabulous free resource! Membership is also an option. Explore the whole site!
- Charity Village – Dealing with Difficult Boards: Tips for Executive Directors
A healthy relationship between the Board and the Executive Director is crucial for the well-being of the organization. However, getting on the right page together and fostering that relationship can be a challenging journey. In this article, the author delves into some of the common problems that exist between the Board and the ED and provides some helpful strategies and insights to ensuring positive group dynamics and healthy relationships.
- Charity Village – Dealing with Difficult Executive Directors: Tips for Nonprofit Boards
We really appreciate how Charity Village did this two-part series. Perspective matters. The difficulties that exist in a relationship can often be resolved with a some understanding of the other’s challenges, point of view, insecurities, vulnerabilities and motivation. Read both in the series!
- Imagine Canada – Succession Planning Made Easy
Succession planning can sometimes feel taboo or even just uncomfortable to discuss in our organizations. However, in order to ensure the stability of our organizations over the long-term, it’s so important that we engage in meaningful and robust discussion around Board and ED succession. (If you’re interested in learning more about how PLC can help your organization with succession support, click HERE.) This article breaks down the succession discussion and shares some resources on how we can make succession a part of the conversation at our organization.
- Charity Lawyer – Top 15 Non-Profit Board Governance Mistakes
Written by a nonprofit lawyer, this blog lists common mistakes made by nonprofit Boards. It serves as a reminder as to what our responsibilities and risks are when serving on a Board. It can help us to ensure we’re on the right path, and also help guide us back if we’ve strayed too far.
- Peel Leadership Centre – The Google Approach to Governance
In this blog post PLC’s Executive Director, Lianne Picot, shares her experience working with a Board whose inexperience and confusion around the role of the Board, coupled with (extreme) confidence resulted in a very tenuous relationship. Lianne stresses the importance of a willingness to learn among Board Members and Executive Directors. She also shares some great Board resources as well!
- Standford Social Innovation Review – Governing a Collaborative Organization
Though we often hear that organizations should work towards being more collaborative at every level, it can be difficult to understand what that means for the Board. Some of the traditional roles of the Board seem to be unsuited to collaborative work such as accountability/fiduciary responsibilities, fundraising, etc. This article addresses these issues and offers actionable suggestions as to how Boards can work towards being more collaborative in the work they do.
There are plenty of articles, blogs and resources out there that can help support our boards and our organizations. We’ve only shared a few! Have you come across something that has helped the Board at your organization? We’d love to hear about it – feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to healthy boards!
This week’s blog was written by Tina de los Santos. Tina brings a diverse mix of nonprofit and business leadership to her role at PLC. Throughout her career she has been passionate about creating engaging learning experiences that support and inspire people’s professional and personal growth. Tina is our chief knowledge sharer and enjoys digitally connecting with other leaders in Peel to help them find great resources and learning tools.