Do you need the matrix?

The Audit Committee will see you now.

What is a board matrix? A board matrix (composition grid, etc.) for the governing board of a nonprofit organization is a tool that methodically attempts to first inventory the needs of an organization at board level, then the alignment between these needs and both current and potential board members. These needs can include skills & competencies, intrinsic qualities (race/ethnicity, gender, age, residence, sexual orientation), resources, networks or anything the organization values. Matrices range wildly in complexity, from simple to … [Read more...]

Are You a Board Member or a Bored Member?


As a leader who has a strong interest in boards and governance, I try to stay current on publications and discussions about board engagement. I have heard and read many opinions on how to keep a nonprofit board engaged, but it is usually advice for the executive director. Many articles, such as Guidestar's "Keeping Your Board Engaged for Your Cause," offer tips to the executive director about keeping a board informed and clear on their roles, goals and objectives. While this advice is extremely valid, I believe board engagement is a two-way … [Read more...]

Governance in the 21st Century

photo: Theresa Remick

Editor's note: As part of our blog event for The Summit at Sundance, we have invited participants in The Chief Executive Program to frame each of our problems to solve. Here, Jean McLaughlin takes on the problem: Create the 21st century board. What would an ideal 21st century board look like? And, how might board members best add value? These are the questions I have been pondering for the past few days. In many ways I marvel at the productive, supportive, responsible and enthusiastic nature of the boards I have worked with. I know this … [Read more...]

Creating the 21st Century Board


Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, we’ll feature posts around the final convening of our Chief Executive Program, The Summit at Sundance. We invite you to participate in an online discussion of four major issues facing the cultural field. In this post, Alorie Clark introduces the second problem statement. Governance is a certainly a hot topic for the nonprofit sector. Many organizations are finding that the traditional governance model isn’t working so well, sometimes leading to more stress than success. When considering all that … [Read more...]

Board Membership: Finding the Right Fit


As an emerging leader, it can be difficult finding a nonprofit board to join. I am full of passion, curiosity, hunger and drive, but figuring out the right organization in which to invest this energy can be challenging. Having taken the board and governance elective during my graduate school program, I am now interested in turning theoretical knowledge into practical experience. With an ultimate goal of becoming an executive director, I hope to start gaining governance experience as soon as possible. How do you begin to search for nonprofit … [Read more...]

Avoiding Messy Breakups: Merger Lessons for Charities

Avoiding Messy Breakups: Merger Lessons for Charities - Ideas & Advice - The Chronicle of Philanthropy- Connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideas. In tough economic times, more and more nonprofits consider mergers. This can be a good move for organizations sliding into the red, such as Virginia Ballet Theatre mentioned in the article. However, the author points out that losses are often incurred when organizations merge. Some smart thinking here on the benefits and risks of entering into a union of two organizations. … [Read more...]

Who Is Governing Whom? Senior Managers, Governance and the Structure of Generosity in Large U.S. Firms

Interesting new research from Christopher Marquis and Matthew Lee at Harvard Business School on key structural drivers of corporate philanthropy: gender of senior managers, CEO tenure and board structure all have an impact on a firm's generosity...and you may find some of them counter-intuitive. Corporate philanthropy is highest in corporations with new CEOs, and decreases with the length of CEO tenure. The greater the proportion of female senior managers in a company, the greater the corporate philanthropic contributions will … [Read more...]

Orchestras at the Cross Roads

Jesse Rosen, President and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, provides a clear-eyed view of the challenges facing orchestras in his plenary remarks from the League conference this month. The fundamental issues he highlights in community relevance, governance, stakeholder cooperation, and financial "clarity" are important considerations for cultural leaders in all disciplines.   … [Read more...]

Principles Workbook: Steering Your Board Toward Good Governance and Ethical Practice

This workbook is designed to help organizations assess and strengthen their governance practices. It outlines 33 principles of good governance, providing an overview of each principle, key questions to guide discussions, the legal implications for each principle, and additional resources that might be helpful. There are also worksheets included to help you record and prioritize any follow-up actions that are identified through the use of the workbook. I'm curious to hear from anyone who uses this tool - did you find the conversations with … [Read more...]

The New Work of the Nonprofit Board

"Effective governance by the board of a nonprofit organization is a rare and unnatural act. " This article describes how to leverage the collective knowledge and networks of your board of directors so they are able to provide your organization with the strategic direction and support it needs. The New Work of the Nonprofit Board - Harvard Business Review. … [Read more...]