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News You Can Use

News You Can Use
Issue 119/November 2012


Clear Expectations: For the Board and for Organizational Leadership

By John F. Marshall
Senior Vice President 

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with many boards of directors both as a senior staffer as well as a consultant. I have been involved with boards from a number of different organizations and in all shapes and sizes. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in boards and when asked to assist in strengthening a poor board, I have found there to be one absolute consistency from one to the next: a lack of clarity in EXPECTATIONS… of the board and of organizational leadership.

Those organizations with successful boards are those whose leadership has gone out of its way to ensure that EXPECTATIONS were clearly stated, agreed to and practiced. And when I say EXPECTATIONS, I mean that there is absolute clarity about EXPECTATIONS of board members as well as those of leadership by the board.

If you are struggling with your board’s effectiveness, perhaps you might wish to consider sharing the following EXPECTATIONS with the board and with the staff:

Expectations of board members by the organization: 

  1. Take attendance at board and committee meetings seriously… SHOW UP!
  2. Be informed about the organization and committed to its mission
  3. Help ensure effective planning
  4. See that the organization’s resources are being effectively managed
  5. Enhance the organization’s public image
  6. Serve as an enthusiastic ambassador of the organization within the community
  7. Utilize professional and personal skills for the betterment of the organization
  8. Give to the best of your ability and assist in identifying, cultivating and soliciting prospective donors
  9. Self-assessment of one’s performance as a board member
  10. Recruit quality new members to the board

Expectations of the organization by board members:

  1. A clear Job Description
  2. Frequent communication to the board on programs, developments and issues
  3. Provide meaningful opportunities to serve
  4. That board members’ time will be used appropriately and not wasted
  5. Provide ongoing education and training
  6. That organizational leadership will be active participants with the board in raising funds
  7. Serve as responsible stewards of the organization’s resources
  8. Ensure that board meetings are substantive and that board members are given every opportunity for meaningful input and participation
  9. Assign adequate staff to assist the board in carrying out its mission
  10. Actively participate in the orientation of new advisory board members

The last point in each of the above lists is in my estimation extremely important in building the right board. The very best time to ensure that a board member fully understands what is expected of them is when they are being recruited. And, once a new member has been enrolled, EXPECTATIONS should be reinforced during the formal orientation process. The last thing an exec wants to hear from a board member is “they never told me I was expected to do that.”

JB&A offers a comprehensive array of board training and educational programs and would be thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with you and your organization in making your board the most effective governance body it can be. Let us know how we can help – call us at 816.237.1999 or email

Why #GivingTuesday? Why not!            

Sandi Grimm

By Sandi Grimm
Director of Operations and Assistant to the President

We’ve all heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and know that they are synonymous with holiday gift buying. The idea behind #GivingTuesday on November 27, 2012 is not creating a new nonprofit to give to, but to encourage giving in general during the holiday season. In an era when social networking is one of the main sources of news-gathering for an increasing segment of the population, #GivingTuesday is a timely and clever idea. Being part of a national movement is cool. The thought of improving your community by going viral about #GivingTuesday on your FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts sounds pretty simple and doable. And, it’s a good way to introduce the idea of philanthropy to kids, whether they are teenagers or younger.

Though it’s important to make monetary contributions, this is a good time to think of additional ways to give and encourage your cyber friends to participate.

Gifts of time

Spend time volunteering as a Salvation Army bell ringer. Call ahead and visit a school near your office or home and have lunch or read with a group of kids. Donate some time at an animal shelter, help prepare a meal at your area Ronald McDonald House, or are there any Habitat for Humanity projects going on in your area? The elderly couple down the street may need some help around their home getting ready for winter. The new mom next door would appreciate a prepared casserole that can be popped in the microwave, or someone to watch the older kids for an hour or two. There have actually been studies done advocating that volunteering is good for your health (click here for an article at Helpguide). Volunteer opportunities are endless. Find more ideas at your local United Way or click here for VolunteerMatch.

Gifts in-kind

Speaking of Habitat for Humanity – how about donating that extra gallon of paint to Habitat Restore? If you are a homeowner, you no doubt have building materials and supplies left over from projects that you will never use. Donate it! There are 825 Habitat ReStores throughout the United States and Canada. Click here to find the ReStore nearest you. Your area school could use a donation of books for their library, drawing paper, or arts and craft supplies of any type. Your place of worship always has a list of items they are collecting for donation.

“#GivingTuesday offers America a new narrative, challenging us to think beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday and reminding us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “The most meaningful gift we can give our children, loved ones, friends and neighbors is the commitment to work together to build a better world.”

Those interested in joining the #GivingTuesday movement can commit to give back to their favorite charity on Nov. 27, 2012, plan to participate in one of the many #GivingTuesday partner initiatives or do something on an individual basis. Details about partner initiatives and ideas for creating individual #GivingTuesday events and actions are available at the #GivingTuesday website

The bottom line is – get out there and do some good! You may benefit from it as much as the recipient. 


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