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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

No More Boards


Last Thursday’s teleseminar and the release of our Guide: ON BOARD(S) triggered a lot of feedback!

Some of it funny. (“Our Board is not just afraid but TERRIFIED of heights. Couldn’t find their way to the top floor of our building even if they were in the elevator.”)

Some of it sad. (“The funding strategy of buying lottery tickets really hurt. It sounds exactly like something my Board would consider as a ‘great idea’ to raise money.”)

One of the best responses was from two superstars in Colorado, Christi-Marie and Rob. They actually challenged the very existence of Boards! (Rob even said I was too ‘soft’ in my presentation. That hurt.)

Here’s what we came up with:

WHAT IFthere weren’t any ‘BOARDS’?

WHAT IF… it was a TABULA RASA? How would we DESIGN the PERFECT, IDEAL BOARD???

Here’s my short answer:

    1. ‘EXECUTIVE BOARD’ GROUP. I would have a five-member Board (since it needs to be an odd number) responsible only for fiduciary matters and for meeting governmental regulations, etc. They would be smart. Have sector expertise in law, accounting and business. Not ‘yes men‘, but collaborative men and women who understood their role and responsibility for the organization.

    2. ‘MASTERMIND’ ALLIANCE. Right out of Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich. Again, this would be a group of really smart and talented individuals who would get together to explore the absolute best way to have the highest level of IMPACT. It would be kind of a 3rd Sector, mini-version of the YPO (Young President’s Organization) or EO (Entrepreneur Organization). Could include other respected 3rd Sector leaders, entrepreneurs and big-time community leaders.
    3. ADVISORY COUNCIL (COUNSEL)! This group would be made up of only CHAMPIONS and PASSIONATE ADVOCATES. The size would only be limited by the criteria! (Again, Champions or Passionate Advocates). No ‘meetings’. Selected ‘gatherings’ of like-kind C/P.A.’s. (Not accountants. Champions and Passionate Advocates.)

In this 3-Part Model, the only ‘Board Meeting’ would be with the Executive Group to insure compliance and maybe some risk management. I would get my Mastermind Alliance Group together at least monthly to do some serious brainstorming and benchmarking. (Think of this as your SUPPORT GROUP!)

Then, I would get my Advisory Group of Champions together quarterly to talk about the Vision, Mission and Purpose at 30,000’… and the CHALLENGES that needed to be met to reach these goals.

I’m not sure when the whole idea of a ‘Board’ within the nonprofit world was even first created. Whenever that was, it is time now to Re-Think and Re-Design and Re-Focus on Boards and on Leadership and on Champions.

Special, Special Note: Christi-Marie and Rob asked a really important question… for which I have absolutely no answer.

In the 3rd Sector (aka not-for-profit organizations), do we (our President or Executive Director or Senior Leadership) actually work FOR the Board? Or, do they work FOR us?

Give us your thoughts.