Dear board volunteers . . . tips from the outgoing CEO

mardi gras mask16DonorDreams blog is honored to be hosting the May 2013 Nonprofit Blog Carnival. The theme this month is “Dear board volunteer . . .” and the idea is “If you could write an anonymous letter to a nonprofit board about something they do that drives you crazy, what would that letter look like and what suggested solutions would you include?” If you are a blogger and would like more information on how to participate and submit a post for consideration, please click here to learn more.

I wanted to expand the Nonprofit Blog Carnival concept in May. So, I reached out to real non-profit people and asked them to also write an anonymous letter to their board volunteers. These folks are executive directors, fundraising professionals, board members, donors, community volunteers, consultants and front line staff. I promised everyone anonymity in exchange for their submissions.

We will celebrate May’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this real look at real issues that our community deals with on a daily basis.

Here is today’s letter:

Dear Board of Directors,

I want to thank you for my time and opportunity with your organization and community. I have learned a great many things during my time here. My hope is that you share these things with your new Executive Director, so that he/she may succeed and serve the clients who need us the most.

First, they’ll need your attention. You need to give them your attention inside and outside the board room, paying attention to key metrics – are we meeting the mission? Are we raising enough financial support – money – to allow the staff to meet that mission? Are you responding to hard and soft metrics with a cause of action – simply put, are you doing things daily/weekly/monthly that help our clients?

Second, they’ll need your advocacy. Are we visible in the community – staff & board together – as advocates of our cause? Are you proud to tell your friends, co-workers and associates that you’re part of our organization? Do you bring people to see our mission in action, either during events or during our day-to-day operations?

Third, they’ll need your aspirations for the organization. Do you think about where we should be in five years? Can you share that with them? Can you share that with your associates? Can you put that into action?

The successful organizations in your community are doing these things, and are thriving. In fact, your lack of attention, advocacy and aspirations are noticeably absent to many others in the community. I’ve been told many, many times during my time here that my passion was appreciated by many, but wasn’t visible in any noticeable quantity from the board leadership. That sent a clear message to them that if our clients weren’t worthy of your passion & talents, as the true leaders of the organization, theirs wasn’t either.

My hope is that you find the staff leader that you’re looking for, as well as that they find the leadership in you that they’re looking for and need as well.

Your Former Executive Director

If you have some advice for the author of our anonymous letter, please share it in the comment box at the bottom of this post in a respectful manner.  If you want to submit an anonymous letter for consideration this month, please email it to me at the address in your signature block below.If you are a blogger looking to participate in this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival and want to learn more, then please click here.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

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