29 September 2007

Key Principles of Policy Governance®

Welcome back! These are the foundational principles upon which we build a comprehensive system of governance.
  • Governance is a function of ownership not management.
  • Boards are the highest authority under ownership.
  • Boards are the initial authority within the organization
  • Board authority is group authority
  • Boards are accountable to the ownership for everything within the organization
  • Boards need to empower those to whom they delegate authority while remaining fully accountable for the use of their authority.
I will be speaking about these principles and their application on Thursday, October 4 at the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership. More information here.

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Fund raising is not begging

Welcome back!

In a great discussion with a good friend who is the Executive Director of a new organization that he has founded about fund raising I said, it's not about begging for money. In fact, I said, it is giving people the opportunity to participate in what we are doing through giving. I stumbled across this article this evening at The Extreme Fundraising Blog.

Click here to read!

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21 September 2007

Board Goverance Workshop at Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership October 4

Welcome back!

"Board Leadership - Governance Excellence" is the 3-hour workshop that I am presenting at the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership on Thursday, October 4, 2007; 3 PM until 6 PM.

Your participation is welcomed and encouraged. There is a rather nominal fee of $30 for LBNP members and $45 for “not-yet-members for the workshop and you need to pre-register at the lbnp.org.

This is what the workshop is about:

How can you attract, motivate and retain good board members? Give them the right job and the right tools. Governance is the highest level of organizational leadership. The role of governance needs to lead with values and vision, and empower both board and staff, and practice the strategic ability to lead leaders. The board’s role is servant leadership. Participants in this workshop – board members and staff leaders will:

  • Access value for leadership through governance with Policy Governance® model
  • Focus contributions to fulfill their role as servant leaders and avoid meddling or “rubber-stamping”
  • Define roles of management and board distinct from one another
  • Identify a conceptually complete system of governance that ensures organizational results on behalf of the moral ownership

This workshop will not be a rehash of information that you have heard before and will not be a lot of stories about how boards have failed to do their job. It will provide an introduction to a comprehensive system of board governance that when used well will ensure that the board accomplishes its job outputs, keeps the organization on track with its fiduciary responsibility and makes a difference in the world.

The Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership is located at 3635 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90807; (562) 290-0018

I am giving a shorter version of this workshop in St. Louis, MO on Saturday, October 13, 2007 at the Adam’s Mark Hotel. Please contact me for further information. The workshop is also available for organizations and their boards of directors in 90-minute, 3-hours, and all day formats. The training is also included as part of a complete package of board development services that in addition to training includes technical assistance to define the boards role, the writing of board level policies, monitoring of organizational activities and production of results.

For more information, check out our capacitypartnership.com and contact me gpeterson [at] capacitypartnership [dot] com.

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13 September 2007

Should the executive director, especially the founder of an organization also serve as Board Member?

Welcome back!

This is a question that I get asked often. There are a lot of passionately held opinions about this. It is really a question about clarity of roles.

When an organization’s founder suggests to me that he or she should be a voting member of the board it is because that person perceives that there is a need to vote as an exercise of power. Frankly, I cannot think of a situation that this kind of power to vote against other board members either to break a tie or to exercise a dissenting vote against the majority would ever be a good idea.

The real answer is that the executive director, founder or not, has a role distinct from that of the board. The role of the board is to govern the organization, first articulating what the organization is to be for and then holding it accountable for accomplishing what it should while avoiding unacceptable situations and circumstances. The role of the ED is to carry out that direction from the board. The founder of an organization will be prudent to have well articulated what the expected results are to be produced, from whom those results should be produced and something about the value of how competing results should be prioritized.

A wise board will ensure that the person in the role of the ED will have the expertise required to accomplish this. The ED will likely be the most informed person in the room when the board is ready to learn what it needs to know to make a good decision. The ED is a colleague and expert to the board of directors.

We provide training and technical assistance to boards of directors to help them fulfill their governance responsibilities, write explicit board level policies, represent the moral ownership and hold organizations accountable. Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions or need assistance. Because poor governance costs more than learning to govern well, the board ought to invest in its governance capacity—the best time to do this is at the start-up stage of any organization

Note: When asked this question recently, it was suggested that good conflict of interest policy would make it ok to have the ED serve as a board member. Having a good conflict of interest policy in place is wise and prudent regardless of whether the executive director has a voting position on the board of directors. Again, the real question is that of clear role distinction and serving those roles.

Your ideas matter here! Please leave a comment.