• Amy Clark

Making Space for Board Development

Updated: Nov 4, 2018

As a nonprofit leader have you ever thought “I just need to get through the board meeting, so I can get back to my to do list”. Or how about, “if I keep my reporting broad enough, hopefully I can avoid too many questions”?

What if you are serving as a board member, do these thoughts ring true? "We go through the same agenda every time", or it can be frustrating when "I have expertise that isn’t being tapped" or when it feels like "we aren’t getting to the big conversations".

Over half of nonprofits struggle with board governance, so rest assured you are not the only organization trying to figure out how to improve this important segment of nonprofit leadership.

The real challenges

While frequency of board meetings can vary, a common theme is that the amount of time to connect is short, and the amount of work it takes to cultivate a strong board is significant.

In the hustle and bustle of wearing the many hats of a nonprofit CEO, it can be tempting to give the board what you think they want to hear to keep things moving along. This can lead to a lost opportunity to engage some of your most invested, influential and loyal stakeholders for input on the real problems you are facing.

Board members can easily gravitate towards management topics out of good intentions, but this can divert precious board meeting time away from strategic and visionary discussions.

  • Nonprofit leaders are busy in the day to day responsibilities, sometimes board work can feel like an add-on instead of an opportunity.

  • Bringing up challenges can be intimidating if the board has unclear roles or boundaries.

  • A lack of governance and structure can create board distractions ranging from poor focus to uncertain accountability.

The value at the table

  • A heart for the cause along with the knowledge, relational and financial capital that board members bring with them, are often at the backbone of your organization’s ability to sustain the mission.

  • Strong governance structures, clear roles and regular education help to stimulate a generative culture and appropriately distribute power.

  • When you create an environment where board members can actively share their gifts for the benefit of the mission, the wins are exponential.

Did you know?

I offer board development services because I am passionate about helping nonprofit leaders break free of patterns that are limiting their potential?

  • Let's partner to explore strategies around board recruitment, education, policy, meetings and generative leadership that will propel your board to lead the mission into the future.

Go take on your day and Awaken the Potential in your Board Room!


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