GuideStar Blog

Inside the Mind of a Board Candidate: Seven Questions for Which You Need Ready Answers

Anyone you hope to recruit to your board has questions, often unspoken, that you need to answer if you want their meaningful commitment. I’ll focus on seven such questions here. In my book, The Ultimate Board Member’s Book, you’ll find others, as well as the answers board candidates find most satisfying.


Four Things Your Nonprofit’s Board of Directors Should Do to Start Out the New Year by Embracing Best Practices

It never fails. As soon as the iconic glittery New Year’s ball makes its descent in Times Square and the calendar turns to January nonprofit boards review their list of goals for the new year and begin to tackle tasks like updating woefully out-of-date bylaws and tightening up conflict of interest policies. Boards look at ways that they can ensure legal requirements are followed by their organization and that their next audit will come back squeaky clean. But there is more to running an ethical, accountable, and transparent nonprofit than just legal and accounting requirements. Boards of directors can set the tone for the organization by conducting regular reviews of core governing and operating policies and procedures.


Can’t We All Just Disagree?

How many of your board votes are unanimous? If it’s all votes, then you may have a problem. What’s that, a problem with everyone agreeing? Maybe—if all board members agree on every single thing, then do you really have enough diverse thinking on the board? But the way votes turn out is less important than the fact that there are differing viewpoints and periodic disagreements. Vibrant organizations have board members with varied views, which is a healthy situation that generates discussion and new ideas. And “disagreement” doesn’t have to be polarizing or negative.


Cultivating a Culture of Philanthropy on Your Board

Ask not-for-profit board members if they enjoy fundraising and their responses will vary widely. Some members are happy to participate if given the green light by their organizations. In my experience, however, many board members find soliciting donations uncomfortable or even distasteful. Some feel they don't have the necessary personal connections or wealth. Or they say, "It's just not my job."

Today, however, fundraising is everyone's job if a not-for-profit is to be successful and sustainable.


Thoughtful Solutions for Reluctant Fundraising Board Members

If you've worked at (or with) a nonprofit, you've struggled with your board members at some point. We all have. It's normal! The relationship between nonprofits and their boards is that of checks and balances and strategy. Frustration happens.

One of the most common sources of frustration is getting board members involved in fundraising. Many—maybe even most—nonprofits expect their board members to support their fundraising efforts both by donating and by taking on an active role in finding and recruiting donors. Getting board members to donate is pretty straightforward, but getting them to actively raise money for you is another thing altogether.


Top 6 Ways a Board Can Help Its CEO


Board members have a lot of responsibility to the organization they represent, to the community for which they are stewards of the nonprofit’s resources, and also to the organization’s CEO. The CEO’s success is tied closely to the support he or she receives from the board. How can individual board members support their CEO’s success? Below are the six ways I’ve found that have the greatest impact.