Board Training Essentials


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Fundamentals on training for boards of directors for nonprofit organizations. Presented by GoalBusters LLC for Stevenson Inc. June 2, 2010.

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Board Training Essentials

  1. 1. Board Training Essentials Presented for Stevenson, Inc. June 2, 2010 Alice L. Ferris, ACFRE James S. Anderson GoalBusters Consulting, LLC
  2. 2. Poll Question <ul><li>What is your primary role today? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Board member </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Top nonprofit executive-Executive Director, President, CEO, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nonprofit manager-Director of Development, Marketing Manager, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Your goals <ul><li>What questions would you like answered today? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Our goals for today <ul><li>Board roles and responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Tools for training </li></ul>
  5. 5. Our Philosophy about Boards <ul><li>Board members are the organization's top leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Recruit and retain these leaders just like you would recruit your top executive: take it seriously! </li></ul>
  6. 6. Gallup's Employee Satisfaction Survey <ul><li>12 questions summarized </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I know what is expected of me </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I have the tools and training to do what I need to do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Someone recognizes and seems to care about my work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The mission is important to me and I can make a difference within it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I have had opportunities to learn and grow </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. What is expected of me: Board roles and responsibilities
  8. 8. What do boards do? <ul><li>Selects and evaluates executive </li></ul><ul><li>Determines mission and vision </li></ul><ul><li>Sets organizational policy </li></ul><ul><li>Ensures effective organizational planning </li></ul><ul><li>Monitors programs & services </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes organization in community </li></ul><ul><li>Ensures and manages adequate resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Managing what we have </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Going and getting more </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. What should boards NOT do? <ul><li>Micromanage staff </li></ul><ul><li>Be involved in the minutia of day-to-day operations </li></ul><ul><li>Change the mission and vision too frequently </li></ul><ul><li>Bad-mouth the organization or its decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Ignore financial responsibilities </li></ul>
  10. 10. What can boards do if they want to? <ul><li>Volunteer in program services </li></ul><ul><li>Speak on behalf of the organization in public relations situations </li></ul><ul><li>Ask people for money </li></ul>
  11. 11. Board Recruitment: Proper training begins at the beginning!
  12. 12. Who should you recruit? <ul><li>People first, then skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to care about the mission/your organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to be a good personality fit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to have time available </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preferred skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business savvy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nonprofit volunteer experience </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. How should you recruit? <ul><li>Take it seriously </li></ul><ul><li>Invitation: don't make it seem like a sure thing (even if it is) </li></ul><ul><li>Interview: get a board member or several involved </li></ul><ul><li>Selection: review assessment matrix and select based on match </li></ul><ul><li>Nomination: explain expectations up front </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptance: provide orientation </li></ul>
  14. 14. Board Assessment: Determining your training needs
  15. 15. What are we measuring? <ul><li>Knowledge base </li></ul><ul><li>Availability or willingness to provide access to that knowledge base </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Length of tenure </li></ul><ul><li>Performance </li></ul><ul><li>General attitude/satisfaction with one's role </li></ul>
  16. 16. Knowledge Base <ul><li>Financial </li></ul><ul><li>Legal </li></ul><ul><li>Nonprofit management </li></ul><ul><li>Program understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Audience connection </li></ul><ul><li>Client </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising </li></ul><ul><li>Business community </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Technical knowledge about your mission </li></ul><ul><li>Others? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Availability <ul><li>Don't always go to the people who do what you need for a living and expect them to donate time </li></ul><ul><li>Assess comfort level with using their knowledge base for your organization </li></ul><ul><li>Determine how much time they realistically have available to provide their knowledge </li></ul>
  18. 18. Diversity <ul><li>Beyond standard race categories </li></ul><ul><li>Age </li></ul><ul><li>Geographic distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Political persuasion </li></ul><ul><li>Faith </li></ul><ul><li>Employment background </li></ul><ul><li>More... </li></ul>
  19. 19. Length of Tenure <ul><li>Importance of term limits </li></ul><ul><li>Staggering board terms </li></ul>
  20. 20. Performance: Self Evaluation <ul><li>Ranking questions (scale of agreement): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The board has a full and common understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a board </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Board members understand the mission and programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The board has clear goals and action steps resulting from annual planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The board receives regular reports on and understands finances and budgets, program performance, and other important matters </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Performance: Self Evaluation <ul><li>Ranking questions (scale of agreement): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The board is actively involved in fundraising </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The board effectively represents the organization to the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each member of the board appears to be involved and interested in the organization's work </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Performance: Self Evaluation <ul><li>Yes or no questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I attend meetings regularly and participate in discussions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I feel informed about the mission and vision and support it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I contribute my time to the best of my ability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I contribute money to the best of my ability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I am serving on a committee or task force </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I encourage others to support when I can </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I find my participation to be rewarding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I am satisfied with my current contributions </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Gap Analysis <ul><li>What gaps are because people are missing? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge base for professional skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Availability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diversity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What gaps are because people don't have the training or tools? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge base for fundraising and nonprofit board governance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performance and attitude </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Board Training: Opportunities to learn and grow
  25. 25. Adult Learning Principles Dr. BJ Bischoff, AFP Faculty Training Academy <ul><li>Focus on “real world” problems </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize how the learning can be applied </li></ul><ul><li>Relate the learning to the learners' goals </li></ul><ul><li>Relate the materials to the learners' past experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Allow debate and challenge of ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to and respect the opinions of learners </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage learners to be resources to you and to each other </li></ul><ul><li>Treat learners like adults </li></ul>
  26. 26. Training format: Half Day or All Day Retreat <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Concentrated time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More comprehensive information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity for hands on practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Possibly more focus from participants </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hard to get people to commit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People who need to be there most will be the ones that don't come! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distracting if people come and go </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brain burnout by end of day </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Training format: Add on to Board Meeting <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They're already there </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focused on one topic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Short, concentrated information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Depending on where you place it, people may leave or come late </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May not be enough time to fully develop concept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Probably not as much time for exercises and activities </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Training format: One on One <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Customization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focused </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>That's a lot of trainings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consistency of message </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People who need it most won't participate </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Training Environment <ul><li>Participant comfort </li></ul><ul><li>Use of handouts: all at once v. hand them out as you need them </li></ul><ul><li>Vary teaching methods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lecture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. So what do we want to learn? <ul><li>What the staff wants to teach </li></ul><ul><li>What the board wants to learn </li></ul>
  31. 31. So what do we want to learn? <ul><li>What the staff wants to teach </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Major gift fundraising </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What the board wants to learn </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Programmatic planning and implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impact on community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to read financials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Special event fundraising </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Teaching about Program Operations <ul><li>Points to cover </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How your organization is structured </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What you do </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teaching tool: can be add-on or all day </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff introductions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site tour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Immersion program: “A Day in the Life” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Mission minute” </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Sample Immersion Program <ul><li>Breakfast with the Executive Director </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sign any disclaimers if needed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Site tour </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extended stops in areas that are most “hands on” or most directly seen by the public </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it “exclusive”: provide access to areas not normally open to the public if possible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conclude with refreshments and debrief </li></ul>
  34. 34. Teaching about Financials <ul><li>Points to cover </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Difference between balance sheet and income statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where your revenues come from </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where your expenses go to </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teaching tool: add-on or during orientation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use mock financials for balance sheet/income statement discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use pie charts </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Sample Financials
  36. 36. Teaching about Fundraising <ul><li>Points to cover </li></ul><ul><ul><li>General philanthropic information, like Giving USA stats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What portion of operating budget is dependent on successful fundraising </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What tools you are using now </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What tools you would like to use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What roles can they play </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Connector </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expert </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Closer </li></ul></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Teaching about Fundraising <ul><li>Teaching tools: can be add-on or half to all day </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Structured discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Role play </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Scripted role play </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Team role play </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Game show </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Sample Half Day Training <ul><li>Breakfast with all development personnel </li></ul><ul><li>Introductions and icebreaker </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What's the most unique thing you ever donated to a nonprofit (or heard about being donated) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>General information: can do this as a game show if people are more savvy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools we're using now </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Sample Half Day Training <ul><li>Tools you want to use or tools you want to better implement </li></ul><ul><li>Role identification (connector, expert, closer) </li></ul><ul><li>Role play exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Debriefing and refreshments </li></ul>
  40. 40. Orientation <ul><li>Important first step to establish expectation of ongoing training </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrates commitment and seriousness </li></ul><ul><li>Points to cover </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Socialization” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Program operations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Board manual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Financials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Major issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Board mentor </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. Orientation agenda <ul><li>Recommend half to full day </li></ul><ul><li>Breakfast with current board (45 minutes) </li></ul><ul><li>Staff introductions and site tour </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If half day, 30 minutes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If full day, 1 hour or up to half day if conducting the immersion program </li></ul></ul>
  42. 42. Orientation agenda <ul><li>Review board manual (30-60 minutes) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meeting schedule </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Board roster </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Past minutes (for later review) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflict of interest policy statement for signature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expectations of the board, including financial commitment form </li></ul></ul>
  43. 43. Orientation agenda <ul><li>Review financials from last board meeting (30 minutes) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial basics (pie charts) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Where our money comes from </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Where it goes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preferably ask the current board treasurer to present </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. Orientation agenda <ul><li>Major issues (15 minutes to an hour) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there any pending or in progress discussions that you wouldn't want to walk into the middle of and feel uninformed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Board president should facilitate this discussion </li></ul></ul>
  45. 45. Orientation agenda <ul><li>Assign a board mentor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Preferably someone they know </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have them join at lunch or assign at breakfast if half day </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expect follow up from board mentor within 10 days and at least one day prior to next board meeting </li></ul></ul>
  46. 46. Questions
  47. 47. GoalBusters Consulting LLC Alice L. Ferris, MBA, ACFRE [email_address] James S. Anderson [email_address] Twitter: goalbusters Facebook: