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You Can’t Break Even: 4 Truths

After a recent presentation to a diverse group of nonprofit executives, one of the CEOs approached me, lamenting his organization’s circumstances.  “I’m not very interested in making a profit, but it’s too difficult to break even, so we lose some money each year.”  When he asked for my opinion I told him “trying to break…


4 Cornerstones For Building A High Impact Nonprofit Board

Some time ago I attended a nonprofit client’s monthly Board of Directors meeting for the first time.  Three hours into the meeting (yes, three) I wasn’t sure where we were on the printed agenda, so I posed that question in the most polite manner possible.  The Chair’s response was “we don’t always stick to the…


Board Stiff: 5 Ways To Reform Ineffective Boards

Non-profit Boards of Directors (Boards) have evolved from the premise that our communities should be effectively represented within the organizations that provide beneficial services to us. This stewardship should provide an integration of the organization’s vision and mission with the larger community good. Unfortunately, in my experience, most Boards are marginally effective in this stewardship,…


Leveraging Your Cultural Merger: 4 Possibilities

In any merger, whether within a small team or between entire organizations, there is always a fear of losing one’s identity.  In the latter case, only one CEO will become the new leader for the merged entities and there is the inevitable sense that one entity’s culture will dominate. Occasionally, the merged leadership embraces the…


Accountability And Volunteers: How to Get Rid of the Double Standard

Last month I witnessed a nonprofit Board meeting where a Board President apologized to a Board member.  “I’m sorry,” she said, “and I know you’re time is valuable, but we have a problem.”  The “problem” was the Board member’s failure to follow up with a donor who was irate about the lack of responsiveness.  “If…


5 Conclusions About Volunteers And Accountability

One of the most common concerns of nonprofit leaders, whether CEOs or Board Chairs, is expressed as follows:  How can I ask volunteers to be accountable when they’re not being paid? My answer?  You have no choice if you want to be an effective leader. Here’s why: Being a volunteer means you have agreed to…