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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

LESSON 34 – Five Troublesome Misconceptions of Board Members

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Bart Hadder is our guest blogger this week for the third of four lessons in "Part 9: Holy Ground and Other Locations.” And during this COVID-19 era, the role of the board becomes even more critical. We pray that your board will have God-honoring wisdom as you spiritually discern next steps.
LESSON 34 OF 40: Five Troublesome Misconceptions of Board Members
Understanding board member myths can lead to improved governing effectiveness.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: 
In Lesson 34, the authors note that:
• Understanding and addressing misconceptions about board members and their board service can improve the impact and effectiveness of the board.
• Identifying and overcoming misconceptions through board education is an important and ongoing process.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 34, pages 180-184:
• Concerning new board members, the authors quote Michael Anthony: “It was as if the day they were elected to the board, the [CEO] assumed that a mantle of wisdom and discernment came magically on them from on high.”
• “Little or no board experience heightens the importance of board training. Unfortunately, training rarely occurs for ministry board members.”
“Even board members who have served on a ministry board for years may find it challenging to comprehend financial data. Nonprofit financial data is rarely presented to the board in comprehensible form.”

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
It is not uncommon to find people serving as executive directors and CEOs who have had little training for the position or who lack adequate knowledge of nonprofit board best practices and how they should work with their boards. Perhaps even more common are board members who, for the most part, are passionate about the mission of the organization but lack a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities as board members. Consequently, while these organizations may be surviving, they lack the efficiency and effectiveness that they otherwise could experience.

Investing in thoughtful board member recruitment and orientation, including providing a board orientation manual with a clear description of board member roles and responsibilities—and an annual affirmation statement—would clear up many misconceptions right from the start of service.  Also, including ongoing board professional development, either as a regular part of board meetings or some other periodic activity, would help even seasoned boards move their organizations from surviving to flourishing.
  
THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY BART HADDER:


BART HADDER is in the third-third season of life after retiring as a program director for the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust where he served as a program director for many years.  During his time at the Trust, he met with executive directors and their board members to review grant requests from numerous nonprofit organizations, including many Christian ministries.


Currently, Bart is pursuing the opportunities God is providing to capitalize on the knowledge gained from his past experiences to help advance Christian ministries through: counseling organizations on how to approach a foundation; serving as a board coach for the Christian Camp and Conference Association’s Thriving Boards Program and the Murdock COVID Organizational Coaching; and serving as a consultant for the Murdock Trust.  He and his wife, Jackie, recently moved to Boise, Idaho, to be near their two adult children (and mostly to be near their two young grandchildren). 

TO DO TODAY:
• Survey board members to determine what misconceptions might exist regarding their board service.
• Take appropriate steps to address each misconception; i.e. 1) review and improve board member orientation materials and 2) plan for ongoing board training.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 34, “Five Troublesome Misconceptions of Board Members.”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On Sept. 2, 2020, watch for the commentary by Hans Finzel on Lesson 35, “Leverage the 80/20 Rule in the Boardroom. Invest 80 percent of your board work on future ministry opportunities—not rehashing the past.”



BULK ORDERS: Click here. For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

LESSON 33 – There Are Two Things You Should Never Joke About—#2: Fundraising

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Jos Snoep is our guest blogger this week for the second of four lessons in "Part 9: Holy Ground and Other Locations.” And during this COVID-19 era, the role of the board becomes even more critical. We pray that your board will have God-honoring wisdom as you spiritually discern next steps.


LESSON 33 OF 40: There Are Two Things You Should Never Joke About—#2: Fundraising
Flippancy about fundraising is never a good substitute for sincerity.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: 
In Lesson 33, the authors emphasize that fundraising is a fully integrated part of a ministry. It needs to be taken as seriously as any other activity of a nonprofit. The raising of money is ministry and needs to be a noble and vital part of the ministry. 

Fundraising needs to be embedded in a culture of giving. Ministry leaders are culture keepers tasked to define values and behaviors for the organization and consistently communicate that to board, staff and volunteers.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 33, pages 176-179:
• A healthy view on fundraising comes through a definition of the organization’s values and behaviors (culture) in how they relate to biblical stewardship and as an integrated part of the ministry.

• Realize and acknowledge that not everybody involved in the boardroom and your organization has a proper vision on fundraising and stewardship.

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
In 2 Corinthians 8 the church in Macedonia is introduced to us. The churches are tested by severe afflictions, they are very poor. There is a great joy however! In verse 2 their joy shows an overflowing wealth of generosity. An indication is given to us that other churches or leaders did not want them to give as they were begging (verse 4) to be part of the relief of the saints. 

A wrong perspective on fundraising can easily trouble your relationship with and view of (potential) donors. Our own judgment prevails over the vision of the church or person that desires to give. The churches of Macedonia witnessed God’s grace working through their lives and generating a deep love for God’s Kingdom. Their begging was to be part of the Great Commission, of Kingdom work, despite their poverty. Their culture of giving was grounded in God’s grace on their lives (values) and participation in His work (behavior).

The raising of money is serious ministry. You are not asking for money. You are giving others an opportunity to be part of Kingdom work. Are we facilitating or hindering that noble work?
  
THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY JOS SNOEP:


JOS SNOEP is the CEO of Bible League International. He began his nonprofit career in the Netherlands, where he was born and raised. He is married and together they have four children. He started his work at Bible League Netherlands as a fundraiser and accountant and served in various global leadership roles serving local churches with Bibles and training. As CEO of Bible League International, a major part of his role is to share the vision and mission work with individual donors and churches.


TO DO TODAY:
• Continue to educate and repeat the foundations of fundraising to our board of directors.
• Foster a culture of active participation of board members in fundraising and giving.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 33, “There Are Two Things You Should Never Joke About—#2: Fundraising.” 




NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On Aug. 26, 2020, watch for the commentary by Bart Hadder on Lesson 34, “Five Troublesome Misconceptions of Board Members. Understanding board member myths can lead to improved governing effectiveness.”




BULK ORDERS: Click here. For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

LESSON 32 – There Are Two Things You Should Never Joke About—#1 Prayer

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Cameron Doolittle is our guest blogger this week for the first of four lessons in "Part 9: Holy Ground and Other Locations.” And during this COVID-19 era, the role of the board becomes even more critical. We pray that your board will have God-honoring wisdom as you spiritually discern next steps.


LESSON 32 OF 40: There Are Two Things You Should Never Joke About—#1 Prayer
“The last one with your thumb up says grace."

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: 
In Lesson 32, the authors note that when boards gather, they have the chance to invite God into the boardroom—unifying the board’s members, superceding the board’s wisdom, and multiplying the board’s impact—through prayer.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 32, pages 172-175:
Olan Hendrix, founding president of ECFA, once served as an executive search consultant. One of Olan’s ministry clients declined the candidate Olan thought was perfect. The reason? The candidate “made light of prayer.” The experience helped Olan realize the solemnity of the believer communing with God.

Dan and John encourage boards to “Pray: From the beginning to the end of your board meetings—and spontaneously as issues arise—create a praying culture that demonstrates to all that your boardroom is on holy ground.”


MY COLOR COMMENTARY:

The Most Important Asset on Your Balance Sheet. In my work with global givers, I’ve come to know amazing, wise people. None inspire me more than David, who started Australia’s leading Christian foundation. 

I asked him, “What’s your favorite part of your foundation’s grant application you have grantees fill out?” 

“I ask about their prayer strategy.”

David began his career as an accountant. He says, “The greatest asset on your balance sheet is that the God of the universe, the Creator of everything, is on your side. And He makes His power available to your ministry.”

When We Pray, God’s Working. In Ethiopia, my friend Aychi leads a movement that has seen more than 600,000 people baptized, many coming to Jesus out of Muslim backgrounds. On a budget of less than $1 million a year. 

I asked him the key to their outrageous impact. Without hesitation, he said, “Ordinary people praying in extraordinary ways.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, when we aren’t praying, we’re working. But when we pray, God’s working. So we pray. We all fast every Wednesday. Every two months, we all fast for an additional three days. And every six months, we fast for an additional three days beyond that. We pray until the impossible happens.”

When Aychi’s ministry wants to reach a new area—you guessed it—they start by taking a group of intercessors there to pray.

We know that ministry fruit only comes when we abide in Jesus (John 15:5), and that abiding happens through prayer. What might God decide to do in our ministries if we, as boards, would model the kind of prayer that we want to see in our ministries?  

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY CAMERON DOOLITTLE:


CAMERON DOOLITTLE serves as Senior Director at Maclellan Giving Partners and, through Candle LLC, helps givers become more joyful and ministries become more vibrant. Cameron lives in Waco, Texas, where Carolyn and he raise their four children and serve the college students at Antioch Community Church. Cameron holds degrees from Stanford University and UC-Berkeley (JD/MBA).

His career has spanned writing speeches on Capitol Hill, consulting for hundreds of companies through Corporate Executive Board (since acquired by Gartner Group), and launching Jill's House, a ministry for children with special needs. He is the author of 
Joy Giving: Practical Wisdom from the First Christians and the Global Church

TO DO TODAY:
• Ask your CEO what your ministry’s prayer strategy is.
• Ask your CEO for three specific things they’re asking God to do.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 32, “There Are Two Things You Should Never Joke About—#1 Prayer.”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On Aug. 19, 2020, watch for the commentary by Jos Snoep on Lesson 33, “There Are Two Things You Should Never Joke About—#2: Fundraising. Flippancy about fundraising is never a good substitute for sincerity.”




BULK ORDERS: Click here. For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

LESSON 31 – Where Two or Three Are Gathered on Social Media

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. John Ashmen is our guest blogger this week for the fourth of four lessons in "Part 8: Boardroom Worst Practices.”  And during this COVID-19 era, the role of the board becomes even more critical. We pray that your board will have God-honoring wisdom as you spiritually discern next steps.


LESSON 31 OF 40: Where Two or Three Are Gathered on Social Media
Conflicts of interest always sound more questionable on the internet and social media.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: If there is any chance that a decision made by a nonprofit board could be perceived as advantageous to one individual, family, or group of people—or, for that matter, even disadvantageous to a certain party or parcel—an engagement or commitment resolution should be avoided like a deadly virus. Social distance from such a notion. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson Lesson 31, pages 166-170:
• In the course of board deliberations, if you find yourself asking if you could justify a certain decision later on if you had to, know that you favorably can’t, even if you logically can. 
• Seemingly defendable good intentions will never win over misperceptions that have momentum.   

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Social media is like a scratched and smudged magnifying glass, and almost everything that happens publicly passes under its largely distorted lens for all to inspect and interpret. The facts might not be seen clearly, but who has time for fidelity these days when the goals are to get heard quickly and to sway opinions inexorably.

This complicates a board’s already difficult job of avoiding impropriety and the appearance of favoritism, even if it’s not related to an insider’s gain. It seems that everybody with a smart phone wants to be a fairness cop these days—whether they have the facts or not.  

A Conflict of Interest Policy is necessary, and signed Conflict of Interest Disclosure Forms should be collected from every board member annually and reexamined semi-annually. But I think every board should also have Calibration of Perception Guidelines that are reviewed prior to every vote taken where money or power is bestowed to a certain individual or group. 

How will this decision be seen by antagonists? How might it play out in the media if an opponent to your purposes is the reporter? What, in the way you are handling this, could generate a flurry of furry on social media? If your case is not ironclad, you might want to rethink your decision. A single online post can penetrate good intentions and seemingly solid plans, then multiply and wreak ruin. It happens every day. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY JOHN ASHMEN:


JOHN ASHMEN is president and CEO of Citygate Network, an organization that equips, promotes, and protects some-300 life-transformation ministries throughout North America that serve people in desperate situations and in destitute conditions. His book, Invisible Neighbors, is considered by many to be a how-to manual for followers of Jesus who are serious about meaningful engagement with poor and powerless people.

John previously served as vice president with Christian Camp and Conference Association. He is a National Association of Evangelicals board member and on the steering committee of the Circle of Protection, an alliance of national Christian leaders focused on ending hunger and poverty.


TO DO TODAY:
• Review your Conflict of Interest Policy to see if it needs to be retooled or tightened up in light of this lesson.
What If? In addition to a Conflict of Interest Policy, have your board governance committee come up with Calibration of Perception Guidelines—a series of what-if questions that could be asked any time a vote is scheduled that will see money or power bestowed to a certain individual or group. 
Consider having a Social Media Response Policy that addresses how you reply (or don’t reply) to negative comments about your organization on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere. It should answer the who, how, and when questions.  
Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 31, “Where Two or Three Are Gathered on Social Media.”  





NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On Aug. 12, 2020, watch for the commentary by Cameron Doolittle on Lesson 32, “There Are Two Things You Should Never Joke About—#1: Prayer. The last one with your thumb up says grace.”





BULK ORDERS: Click here. For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

LESSON 38 – Seven Times When a Board Member Should Bid Adieu

Welcome to  More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog ,  a 40-week journey through the new book,  More Lessons From the Nonprofit Board...