Dear board volunteers . . . digging in your heels doesn’t help us!

mardi gras mask7DonorDreams blog is honored to be hosting the May 2013 Nonprofit Blog Carnival. The theme this month is “Dear board volunteer . . .” and the idea is “If you could write an anonymous letter to a nonprofit board about something they do that drives you crazy, what would that letter look like and what suggested solutions would you include?” If you are a blogger and would like more information on how to participate and submit a post for consideration, please click here to learn more.

I wanted to expand the Nonprofit Blog Carnival concept in May. So, I reached out to real non-profit people and asked them to also write an anonymous letter to their board volunteers. These folks are executive directors, fundraising professionals, board members, donors, community volunteers, consultants and front line staff. I promised everyone anonymity in exchange for their submissions.

We will celebrate May’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.

I hope you enjoy this real look at real issues that our community deals with on a daily basis.

Here is today’s letter:

Dear Board Members,

We have spent the last six months discussing board member responsibilities, attributes and expectations.  We agreed in today’s climate, a healthy, engaged and responsive board is the foundation for sustainability.  In order for our organization to thrive and grow, a new kind of board leadership is a must.   Clear expectations were defined, a Governance Committee was established. 

Now as we are in “ execution” phase, there appears to be push back on the direction of the board, its structure and responsibilities. 

Honestly, this is so so  frustrating and am wondering why we (the board & me) spent six months developing a plan when there was no intention of using it.   This type of behavior is probably why you have had three Executive Directors in the past four years. 

I am committed to raising board engagement to a higher level and creating a meaningful board membership experience but I need your help.  If we truly want to impact the lives of the children we serve, we must change.  We have the right mission for the right reason, let’s not let our kids down.

I know that change is not easy, but we need to push forward towards a solution. Here are just a few simple suggestions that I have:

  1. let’s move a few of our more resistant board volunteers off of the board and onto another task force or advisory council,
  2. let’s shake up our board leadership,
  3. let’s add a few fresh faces by recruiting two or three new board volunteers, and
  4. let’s find a donor who is willing to make a challenge gift that is tied to implementation of our original plan.

G. U. Dummie

If you have some advice for the author of our anonymous letter, please be respectful and share it in the comment box at the bottom of this post.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847


About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on May 10, 2013, in Board development, Board governance, leadership, nonprofit, organizational development, volunteers and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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