Being a Better Nonprofit Board Member

Better nonprofit board member

People often assume that being a good nonprofit board member boils down to two basic capabilities: being a good fundraiser and being a good donor. However, we know that being an outstanding nonprofit board member takes a whole lot more. As the world continues to be shaped and stimulated by the good work of nonprofit organizations, it’s important that board members embrace their full role in corporate governance. They have the potential to help their organizations reach new levels of growth and impact.

FIELD TRIPS! First and foremost, board members should interact with their organization’s mission where it’s happening. Taking field visits is a great way to understand the nonprofit’s ultimate output. It also helps board members connect with their role in a more passionate way. Not to mention, these visits lead to enlightening questions from board members and an evaluative process to help the board strategize for an effective path forward.
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Directorpoint Celebrates Its Best Year Yet

Directorpoint

We don’t mean to pat ourselves on the back, but we think 2016 was our best year yet! Not only did we receive some outstanding recognition, add exciting clients, and open an office in another country, we also worked tirelessly to make our software even more impactful and user-friendly. Some of our most memorable accomplishments from 2016 include:

  • Experienced 68.3% client growth and were privileged to have formed partnerships with several outstanding organizations, such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (P.S. They give out the Oscars!).
  • Established an Australia-based office and data center to better serve our international client base.
  • Were named one of the fastest growing companies based in Birmingham by Birmingham Business Journal’s “Fast Track 30” for the second consecutive year!
  • Introduced our weekly newsletter –“The Point” as well as consistent, informative blog content on our website. (Subscribe for regular updates!)

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Effective Remote Board Meetings

Effective Remote Board Meetings

Ideally, every member of your board can be present at each meeting you schedule. Real world responsibilities often get in the way of that goal, though. Many directors serve on multiple boards, travel for work, or run companies of their own. In some instances, joining a meeting remotely is the best that can be done. So how do you maximize the experience in order to get the most effective results from remote board meetings?

  1. First, double-check your local laws regarding remote board meetings.

Most states in the U.S. allow the practice as long as all members of the board can hear everything that is spoken and respond in real-time.
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Better Board Meetings in the New Year

better board meetings in 2017

Launching into the New Year is all about personal improvement and goal setting, so why not extend that “can do” attitude to the boardroom, too? Here are some practices you can employ to ensure that you bring your very best to the table in 2017.

  1. Prepare prepare prepare.

It’s easy to overlook this basic board member function, but it’s your duty as a director to come to meetings ready to participate to the best of your ability. At Directorpoint, we encourage admins to get board books and related meeting information out to directors early, so they can spend time reviewing it before meetings begin. More prep time means more time that board members can spend on strategic thinking instead of being bogged down in reports and reviewing older information.
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‘Twas the Night Before the Board Meeting

Twas the night before the board meeting

‘Twas the night before the board meeting
And all through the boardroom
The admins were retreating
In worry and gloom

The board books were placed
At the table with care
But last minute adjustments
Had staff pulling out all their hair

Oh no! Delete that chart
Shouted one to the team
We’ll just have to restart
At the printer full steam!

The directors were arriving
At the office post haste
While the admins were striving
To get the agenda replaced
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Higher Ed Boards: Finding the Governance Balance

Cartoon business executive character doing sky walking and balancing carefully on declining red arrow. Creative vector illustration on business risk and balancing act concept.

As the role of the higher education board widens, members are often faced with the reality of appearing too distant or as an interfering entity. Universities, in particular, place the role of the board in a difficult window of power. Board members must respect the open and forward-thinking nature of a campus setting, but they must also protect the trajectory of the college—especially in relation to its financial wellbeing. As David G. Turner writes for Trusteeship magazine, “Business models are shifting, funding sources are unpredictable, and learning channels are evolving; therefore, institutions must evolve and adapt in order to survive and thrive in the days ahead.”

As these shifts in higher educational systems continue to occur, board members are tasked with finding the unique balance between authority and negligence. One of the best ways to achieve this balance is by turning the board’s attention to strategic thinking. Oftentimes, higher ed boards become bogged down in the smaller aspects of campus life. Unlike with their corporate counterparts, strategic thinking and planning regularly get pushed aside for topics that are considered to be more “pressing.” This is a mistake. Although boards exist to financially protect the entity they serve, it’s difficult to achieve that if boards aren’t looking to the horizon for a vision of future growth and evolution.
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Board Software Transforms the Co-op Landscape

co-op electric board software

Utility cooperatives (co-ops) sometimes get a bad rap for using outdated processes. Many of them have been around for more than a century, so it’s no surprise that standards of procedure have been honed and crafted throughout the years. Technology and infrastructure are constantly evolving and growing; however, boardroom dynamics look largely the same as they did twenty years ago. Board responsibilities are increasing for every industry, so the pressure to ensure that co-ops succeed has fallen squarely on the shoulders of directors.

Board meeting software presents many unique benefits to boards of directors in the co-op field. First and foremost, it establishes easy access to important board information. While traditional, paper-based boards are confined to the information provided for a specific meeting, directors using board software can instantly access everything from past meeting materials to strategic plans, policy manuals, orientation materials, audit reports, and more.
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How to prepare for a Board Meeting

preparing board meeting

At one point or another, you’ve probably heard some version of this saying: A team can only be as strong as its weakest player. At Directorpoint, we love a good sports analogy, and we also think that this aphorism can be applied to a board of directors. Each individual member must be expected to thoroughly prepare for a board meeting—especially those that pertain to in-meeting time—or else the strength of the boardroom will suffer. So what does exceptional board meeting preparation entail?

  1. Review bylaws and meeting protocol.

If you’re still new to board membership, it doesn’t hurt to review your board’s bylaws and typical meeting procedures. Make sure that you understand when you’ll have opportunities to bring topics up and when you’ll be expected to cast votes. Some boards rely on an extremely intricate system while others operate more loosely. If you don’t understand the system, how will you be able to adequately prepare for a board meeting?
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Ways to Streamline Board Admin Duties

streamline board admin duties

Last week, we talked about being grateful for various colleagues in the boardroom, and board admins were at the very top of that list. The role of the admin used to be burdened by an excessive amount of preparation: gathering materials, organizing information, printing, distributing, making edits, reprinting, and redistributing. Today, thanks to board management software, your board admin’s full plate of responsibilities just got way more manageable. Check out some ways to streamline board admin duties below

Gathering & Organizing Materials

Boards admins are tasked with collecting reports from various departments in order to provide board members with an overall picture of the company’s current situation. Although the computer age has simplified this process through the advent of digital documents, board portal software has provided a centralized space for that information. Rather than waiting until all the information has been assembled, admins can begin the agenda organizing process as soon as they have the first piece of data. The process continues as more data and reports make their way to the admin, who can easily drop them into a digital agenda with accompanying PDF documents.
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Being Thankful in the Boardroom

Hand drawn thanksgiving greeting card with leaves

This week, as the country turns its attention toward gratefulness and generosity, it seems only appropriate to do the same when discussing boardroom topics. A board of directors involves an intricate web of relationships, so it’s important to pause to appreciate how each of those interactions strengthens corporate governance for an organization.

Board Admins

Every business leader understands the value of exceptional assistance. In fact, the best administrators help leaders take their effectiveness to the next level. Board admins spend a lot of time in the background of the board process, but the truth is that they are the principal organizers for most board-related activities. Not to mention, keeping a collection of busy board members satisfied and plugged into a structured communication system is no small task.
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