The Board’s Role in Advocacy: An Expectation for Engaged Leadership
Advocacy is a powerful way to leverage the important work that your organization does. Board members — as influential community leaders — can help increase the likelihood of your nonprofit’s success by engaging in advocacy. Being an advocate is directly connected to each board member’s fundamental responsibility to champion the organization’s work — to stand for your mission.
Creating a collaborative, team culture in your boardroom is one way to take your board from responsible to exceptional.
When most people think of high-performing teams, they think of sports teams, trauma center professionals, or fire department crews. They rarely think of nonprofit boards. Still, if you want an exceptional board, you need to create a high-performing board team.
One reason boards don’t always resemble great teams is that they lack a shared goal, a common purpose. Sure, the members are there to support the mission, but that doesn’t automatically lead to a common understanding about what they should do in support of it.
Each member of the board of directors plays a key role in the success of an organization,
both in terms of governance and support. Recognizing that each member has a unique and
valued set of attributes in terms of time, talent, and treasure to assist in achieving our mission
and vision is important. To serve on a board is both a responsibility and a privilege. This
sample matrix is intended to provide a benchmarking tool for board members to evaluate
their level of contribution in the various aspects of their board responsibilities.
Principles Workbook: Steering Your Board Toward Good Governance and Ethical Practice
This Workbook is designed to help nonprofits and foundations strengthen their governance and ethical practices. Organizations of all sizes, fields, and mission areas will find that it provides a platform on which they can build discussions that serve their unique needs and level of development. Not every topic will apply to every organization, and an important part of the process will be for your organization—whether long-established or just starting up—to review the principles in order to prioritize implementation. Many organizations will find that they already follow—or go beyond—these principles. Others may wish to make changes in their current practices, and some may conclude that certain principles do not apply to their organization.What is vital is to assess and strengthen your practices and the Workbook supports that work.
Achieving diversity on a nonprofit board is a challenging — but doable and essential — task. Exceptional nonprofit boards recognize that diversity is essential to an organization’s success. They see the correlation between mission, strategy, and board composition and understand that establishing an inclusive organization starts with establishing a diverse and inclusive board.
To build and sustain a strong nonprofit organization, boards must address a number of critical areas. Board Development provides information on the following topics: board roles and responsibilities; recruitment, engagement, and retention; governance and board committees; and bylaws. There is no one way to engage in board development, and practices will vary from organization to organization, but there are important areas to examine as you prepare your organization to flourish in these changing times.
Both mission and vision statements are vital for nonprofit organizations. The statements should be distinct, yet connected – the mission guides the organization daily while the vision highlights the organization’s long-term impact. Use this guide to help your organization review and revise your mission and vision statements.