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Posted on in Fundraising

Six people, soon to become five by attrition, sit around a board table. “There’s so few of us to do the work” one of the members sighs.

The obvious answer? Recruit a couple more people who are inspired by the organization’s work with autistic children and would be honored to be among those responsible for the agency’s well-being.

Yet the board hesitates.

We have to clarify our committee structure...

Our financials look too dicey…

We need to get through a tricky personnel matter…

The people we most need won’t want to join this club.

The rationalizations for inaction go on and on. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

Janet’s been a reading tutor in Sunrise Community Center’s Book Buddies program for a few years now. She recently did a terrific job organizing a fundraiser to raise some extra cash for the program. She makes her own donation to Book Buddies each year, and seems pretty reliable and involved.

Let’s ask her onto the Sunrise Community Center’s board!

Well, yes, but…

There’s a long journey from program volunteer to organizational board member, and Janet’s board orientation – and training through the whole first year – will need to help her to make that leap. 

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Posted on in Nonprofit

It’s August. Time slows down, people go out of town, and those of us left around may actually have time on our hands.

So that’s the time to think big picture, figure out what’s in the way, and develop a skeleton plan to move forward through those shoals.

In that vein, we’ve been talking about succession with a couple of groups these days – board chairs planning a year or two ahead, executive directors looking at retirement (or second careers), development directors thinking about how to leave the nest in good shape to take on the next challenge.

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Posted on in Fundraising

In a well-run company, leadership development on staff is nurtured, planned, designed.

Why not on boards?

Why do we so often manage board member behavior by default, hoping we have the good fortune of “landing” the next leader through happy accident?

Just like great staff leaders are built through cross-training, shadowing, and education, great board leaders learn by watching the best and by having the chance to spread their wings, little by little, in positions of greater authority and breadth.

By planned growth, in other words. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

Earlier this month, Carnegie Hall announced a new board chair – Robert F. Smith, a private equity titan named by Forbes last year as the second richest African-American (after Oprah Winfrey).

Quite a catch for Carnegie Hall, for multiple reasons – and a welcome relief after the controversy surrounding the resignation of its previous board chair Ronald Perelman.

But there’s one thing about the ascension of Robert Smith to board leadership that really stands out – his route in the door. His introduction to Carnegie Hall was not through a board member, or even a recruiter – it was through a contact of Carnegie’s executive/artistic director, Clive Gillinson.

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