Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in board-staff relations

Posted on in Fundraising

Someone from the media’s on the phone? The executive director, usually the public face of the organization, speaks with the reporter and shares the ensuing article with board members, supporters, and the like. End of story.

But not always.

When the issue is controversial, behind the executive director must be the board. And it’s the job of the executive director to know when to reach out to the board to think through, as a group, what the organization’s response should be.

The CEO does not stand alone.

Last modified on

Posted on in Fundraising

My board leans on me for everything” – an oft-heard lament from executive directors.

It’s logical. Board members, knowing the competence of the executive director, simply assume that dynamic leader will let them know when they’re needed. It’s easier to follow their lead.

But executive directors, juggling a million balls in the air, resent that they’re expected to be in charge of the actions of yet another group of responsible adults.

Yet the opposite complaint is true as well: Beware the runaway decisions made by a board acting on its own without any staff members in the room…

Last modified on

Posted on in Fundraising

All hail the visionary leader! Charismatic, far-seeing, imaginative, wise… the nonprofit CEO is expected to be all things to all people, and s/he tries hard to oblige.

But where does that leave the board?

In the CEO’s corner cheering them on, for sure – but what about the board-staff partnership? How can a real partnership exist when one party is a full-time-plus superstar and the other has a different (FT) job?

It’s a nonprofit management conundrum that plays out across finance, program, planning, governance – and of course fundraising. 


Last modified on

Posted on in Nonprofit

The first Friday in March is marketed as “Staff Appreciation Day.”

Another Hallmark Holiday, a made-up occasion to sell greeting cards, boxes of chocolates, etc. Ho hum, you might say.

And yet.

Last year, a basket bursting with fruit – both plain and chocolate-dipped – was waiting for the Cause Effective staff when we arrived in our office that morning. From a board member. “For all you do, on Staff Appreciation Day,” the message read.

Did we feel appreciated? You bet.


Last modified on

Posted on in Board Development

It’s an issue many nonprofits struggle with – for groups with a highly professionalized staff and a board of “interested laypeople,” what is the real value-add of a Board (aside, of course, from raising money)?

The standard answer, “ to set policy the staff implements” assumes a portrait that doesn’t quite fit – a board that knows enough, indeed, knows more than the staff, about the issues of the field and can therefore wrestle successfully with policy determinations and steer the agency’s course.

For many nonprofits, that just doesn’t ring true.

Last modified on