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Honor the Past, but Don’t Look Back

I am working with an organization that has a noble mission but hasn’t balanced its budget in a long time. Maybe never. Board members are fatigued and pessimistic, and all have stayed LONG past their terms have expired, because (surprise!) no one else could be recruited to fill their slots.


The Unspoken Truth about Boards and Fundraising

Does everyone on your board raise money?

If the answer is “No!”—perhaps the question makes you laugh or groan or grind your teeth—you’re not alone.

How do I know? By far, the most popular service I offer is board fundraising training. Because so many boards struggle to raise money, demand is endless. (Note to consultants: if you want to build your business, improve your skills as a fundraising trainer.)


How to Ask Your Campaign Committee Members for Their Gifts

One of the characteristics of most successful capital campaigns is that they ask for gifts from the “top-down, and inside-out.”

That’s shorthand for saying that you’ve got to solicit the people who can give the largest gifts first and the people who have been most involved with your organization and your campaign—that is the campaign committee members and the board.


Five Options for Nonprofit Board Orientation

Joining a board without a proper welcome and relevant education is like landing in a foreign country without a map or any knowledge of the local language and customs.


The GuideStar Blog Posts You Read Most in 2017

Earlier this month, we published a list of the GuideStar Newsletter articles subscribers read most last year. Today, we're looking at the GuideStar Blog posts that caught your attention. Because the first 8 were also in the newsletter top 10, we're extending this list to 15 posts.


The GuideStar Newsletter Articles You Read Most in 2017

Happy New Year! It’s time for our round-up of the GuideStar Newsletter articles you read most last year. As was true in 2016—and to an extent in 2015—you veered away from the traditional formula of fundraising, boards, and boards and fundraising. You were still interested in those topics, but you read articles about other subjects as well.


Your Engine of Impact: Board Governance

Governance is a crucial component of any nonprofit’s success. It’s also one of the hardest aspects of nonprofit leadership to get right. We have observed this truth firsthand over many years of conducting due diligence on a wide range of nonprofits, first for the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership and now at King Philanthropies. And research buttresses this observation: In a survey of nonprofit chief executives and board chairs conducted in 2015 for the BoardSource report “Leading with Intent,” respondents on average gave nonprofit boards a grade of B-minus in overall performance. Indeed, many people in the nonprofit sector simply assume that ineffective boards are par for the course. This sort of negative thinking all too easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy—one that we firmly reject.


7 Ways to Keep Your Nonprofit’s Board Engaged

The members of your board of directors are not just donors. They’re people, too. They didn’t join your nonprofit’s board to ask their friends and family for money, but because they care about your mission. While they are on the inside, they still need to know they are valued and making a difference.


Evaluate Your Board Meetings

I had just started my consulting relationship with Asheville School. It’s a very special high school in Asheville, North Carolina.

The meeting ended. But something happened that I had not been warned of. I was called on to give a 15-minute critique of the Board meeting.


Four Questions to Ask Every Prospective Board Member

Often in our haste to meet a deadline for recruiting board members, we whisk through the interview process or forego it entirely, relying on what we know about individuals through other connections or word of mouth.

Even when we believe we’re thorough, we tend to focus on the obvious rather than broach topics that are often better predictors of successful board service.