How to Invite with Intention

Happy Fall!! As the leaves turn and sweaters come out, many nonprofits get ready for board elections and new terms. Has your organization considered how to invite with intention? If not I encourage you to set aside time at your next meeting to consider the key priorities facing your organization, how your board can support these priorities, and what are the just right candidates to support that work. Do you need great communicators, strategic thinkers, or negotiators? Is it time for content experts to take the stage or connectors to cultivate new relationships?

I find there are Ten Key Steps for Strategic Board Recruitment. Take a peek at the list, identify how to invite with intention as you look toward recruiting new candidates, and please reach out if I can help along the way.

Priority Resources for Impact

As we turn the calendar and settle into a new year, most organizations should revisit how to identify priority resources for impact. Economic realities are complicated. In person meetings and family gatherings bring risk analysis. Loss and challenge have become too common.

(I must admit 2021 challenged me too. I accepted that I didn’t post and share as much as I hoped, and I’m refocused to offer more in 2022.)

Practical tools are a priority for me to offer. Right now when most organizations need more resources I’ve designed a practical tool to guide you toward identifying priority resources for impact.

Let’s Get Started

First, ground in the mission of your organization. Next be sure to identify the top three strategic priorities for your organization. (Ideally your current strategic plan contains these priorities. If you don’t have one, make sure to identify your strategic priorities with your staff and board.)

With the mission and strategic priorities in mind, consider your broad network of stakeholders. This group will be able to gather the priority resources you identify. The network should include staff, board, committee members, volunteers, key supporters, partners and your social media community.

Finally time to identify resources!! Again think big! Skills, expertise, services, connections, partnerships and more all bring the mission to life. Time comes in many forms: skilled experts, trained volunteers and tasks open to the community. What kind of time do you need? Support also comes in many forms: financial contributions, goods, real estate space, and good will.

Fill in the Blank – for IMPACT!

Once you have the mission, priorities, key stakeholders and resources all in mind outline, time to fill in the blank. If we had more ____, we would have greater impact.

If we more (or just the right) FILL IN THE BLANK WITH A PRIORITY RESOURCE, we would have greater impact relative to our strategic priorities.

Perhaps, it might help to write a job description for what you need or consider how you would describe the priority resource for impact in an advertisement. Here’s a reference tool to share at your next board or staff meeting to get started. Please just drop a note to learn more, ask questions or schedule a free 15 minute phone chat here. Let’s explore finding more focus on progress!


Planning to Start the New Year

In 2021, each month I will share a new offering or free resource based on a different theme. I look forward to bringing you tools that can support planning, successful transitions, and board recruitment just to name a few. I hope this information can help guide conversations for calendar mapping with INTENTION to bring focus on progress.

As we turn the calendar to a new year (and hope for at least a bit of leaving behind and starting anew), I wanted to share a guide with you for a recommended annual exercise to map the meetings calendar for your nonprofit board. You will find details on the key conversations to have annually as well as an easy to use checklist.

This exercise is great for large organizations, small organizations, recently founded groups, as well as longstanding ones. It speaks to new board members (and can support high quality board member orientation). It also allows long time board members to re-engage with new projects.

I encourage you to review the Calendar Mapping Guide with your board. Then use the Board Checklist to identify which month you will confirm each key item. If you need more support or training to dive deeper into these conversations, I am happy explore the best next step. You can learn more about my planning work here. Please just drop a note or schedule a free 15 minute phone chat here.

Here’s to a year guided by calendar mapping with INTENTION and focus on progress.

Best, Kate

Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash

Summer (Nonprofit) Self-Care

As the days grow warmer and longer, we often enjoy a bit of summer self-care. And while things may slow down for your nonprofit board without the pressure of major events, critical decisions or key program activities, I notice that rarely do we schedule intentional self-care for the nonprofit organizations we care about in quite the same way. So I encourage you to consider ways you might support, refine and nourish your board in these summer months. Take a look at your next meeting agenda for the full board, a board work group, or committee. Perhaps you could strengthen a skill to support a key priority, take time to cultivate relationships (both internal and external), or focus on a project on the priority list. You might consider inviting a guest/outside expert to join your conversation, gather articles or research to support the conversation, or draw from resources within the organization.

Consider your opportunities for growth, the role of your board and your partnership with staff leadership. Reflection will likely guide a list of possible board self-care options. Not sure where to start or the right self-care for your board. I’d love to chat to help support your work, find creative ways to bring greater impact to your work, and explore opportunities to achieve your strategic priorities. Please get in touch.

And if you are still unconvinced on the importance of self-care, here’s a favorite TedTalk to explore.

Strategic Priorities Guide Strategic Recruiting

Glasses graphic > Focus on ProgressStrategic board recruiting is more than inviting folks to join the board. Impactful board development is possible when you align your board recruiting plan to your strategic priorities. Building a well functioning board is a key board responsibility, but often a challenge. Alignment of recruiting strategic with strategic priorities can help! But this requires that your strategic priorities are well known and understood. It also requires leadership to explore current board composition and identify critical needs.

For example, if events play a significant role in your fundraising efforts including event planning expertise on the board as well as fundraising and event committees can enhance decision making and oversight in this area. Or if your organization seeks to expand programming to serve a new geographical region, your board should include representatives from the community to lend their perspectives to decision making.

If the board does not include representatives with the skills and connections relative to each of your strategic priorities, I urge you to consider developing board recruiting strategies to connect, engage, and invite these perspectives to join the board. And if your organizational strategic priorities are unknown, I encourage you to set aside time to develop them.

Resources to Develop Your Strategic Board Recruiting Plan

The Nonprofit Governance Guidebook, Chapter 1: Strategic Board Recruiting offers detailed information on how to build a strategic board recruiting plan. The materials include worksheets to frame strategic decision making for your board, a video to prompt discussion and decision making, and a complete reference workbook including critical elements and practical steps to build your own strategic board recruiting plan.

You might want to discuss your board recruiting plan at your next Executive or Governance Committee meeting. Perhaps the whole board is ready to explore enhancing board recruiting. Have questions and want to explore strategic board recruiting more in depth – please reach out! I’m happy to offer free 20 minute phone chats to discuss and help identify the best approach to meet your goals.

Time to Reflect and Take Action

With fall drawing near and daily news of crisis and need across the globe, it is a perfect time for both reflection and action. When was the last time your board reflected on the priorities and impact of your work? Self-evaluation and board reflection are important practices to strengthen your board’s ability to support the work of your organization. Does your board currently have a set of priorities guiding decision-making and resource allocation? If yes, how are you doing as a board putting those priorities into practice. If you desire to expand your services to a new community or program area, have you made progress toward the goals. How is meeting attendance? Are fundraising goals being met?

Next comes action. After a meaningful conversation reflecting on progress toward your priorities, explore what could be done to achieve more success. Then take action! Reach out to a community partner, more actively pursue recruiting new committee and board members, or refine the language on your communication materials to demonstrate the need and impact of your work.

And don’t take my word for it. The newly released Leading with Intent from BoardSource highlights that when boards regularly assess their performance they perform better on core responsibilities.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also encourage you to reflect and take action in your non-board life too. With significant community need arising daily from flood waters, wildfire, earthquake, and more… what are your personal priorities? what are your personal resources/your capacity to lend support? Have you taken action to align your priorities to the needs and opportunity for action? Find a local organization with a clearly stated mission and proven record of serving those in need, and if you can, give cash. If you have other resources, contact those in need and find the best way to meet their needs.

With the crispness of fall in the air, I welcome you to reflect and if you/your board/your organization would like a partner in the next step – please reach out. I’d love to support your work in your community.

Strategic Board Governance

Please plan to join Kate on Wednesday May 17th at 9:30-11am (Mountain) via webinar

Kate will share “Strategic Board Governance: How to Align Board Development to Your Strategic Priorities” during an engaging 90 minute webinar in partnership with the Colorado Nonprofit Association. The event is FREE for CNA members! 

The conversation will explore strengthening your board through strategic recruiting, on-boarding and support. We will review policy best practice, practical ways to reflect your priorities in these efforts, and how strategic materials can streamline resources.

Please mark your calendar and plan to join me. I’d also be grateful if you would share with your friends, but don’t forget to register today!

Learn, Leverage, Lead

Sit back and think about your last board meeting. Maybe you can remember the agenda items, perhaps you explored a significant issue facing your organization, and possibly you discussed a pressing question for your nonprofit.

Was the meeting engaging for those in the room? Was it well attended? Did each board member feel prepared for the discussion and decision making? Were folks comfortable speaking up, asking questions, sharing unpopular points of view, providing a critical eye?

Board meetings should reflect the mission, culture and priorities of your nonprofit organization. They should focus on strategic priorities and cultivate meaningful participation from a diverse leadership group.

Each board meeting provides an opportunity to learn, leverage and lead. If you’d like to explore how to strengthen your own meeting practices, please connect with me.

Certainty in Uncertain Times

In times of chaos and uncertainty, we often strive to find control in the quest for certainty. As nonprofit organizations, many factors remain just out of control at most times like public policy and the economy. As leaders, where can you find certainty. I encourage you to start the year with certainty and clarity around your organizational mission statement.

Maintaining a clear mission statement for the organization is a key responsibility of the board of directors. When was the last time your board visited the mission statement? Does it clearly state the purpose behind your work and what you do? Is it in plain language or does it rely on jargon or terms of art? I encourage you to check out this great resource from TopNonprofits, Guide to Creating Mission & Vision Statements.

A clearly defined mission statement will serve as the foundation for program development, board governance and recruitment, communications, strategic planning, and more. Consider a check in to evaluate your mission statement at your next board meeting. Want to learn more? Let’s connect and explore how certainty in your mission statement can enhance your capacity in these uncertain times to focus on progress.