Marc Pitman has spent years consulting with nonprofits to get their boards and staff excited to raise money for their organizations. During that time he’s come to find that it’s not all roses with nonprofit leadership in our sector. Building upon his research, he developed the Nonprofit Sector Leadership Report 2016. What he found was that these negative experiences weren’t outliers, and that our sector has a lot of work to do.
One of the most important assets in nonprofit leadership is a well-trained board. Because so many board members come from the for-profit world, leading a nonprofit organization can be confusing and they can get in the way of what the executive director is trying to do, without knowing they’re doing so. As Pitman puts it, “No board member wakes up in the morning thinking, ‘How can I be a lousy board member?’”
Pitman also talked about how he found that less budget equals less strategic planning. That makes sense, but 1 in 5 of the largest nonprofits were still operating without one. He believes this is probably due to a lack of communication between the board and leadership. Either the plan was established once and never updated, or the strategic plan is never in writing, and instead is in the minds of executive directors and board members. Without something in writing, it can lead to avoidable issues down the road.
“No board member wakes up in the morning thinking, ‘How can I be a lousy board member?’”
If you are trying to cut down a forest, it’s best to spend the time it takes to sharpen your saw, rather than cutting trees non-stop. Pitman says the same is true for developing your strategic plan. If you take the time to make sure your “tools” are effective, you will ultimately get more accomplished.
Wait no more! Check out Part Two now!