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Nonprofit Startup Accelerator Lite

1 Module 2 Lessons

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Nonprofit Startup Accelerator Lite Description

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Course Structure

2 Lessons

Board Management & Resources

Even if you’ve never started a non-profit organization before, you’ve likely heard of the board of directors, or as it is sometimes called, the board of trustees. 

No doubt, you've heard the term “board” (short for Board of Directors) referred to with regard to both nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies. But unlike for-profit entities, nonprofits don’t have shareholders that own a piece of the action! 

That's why there's no figuring out how to start a nonprofit without learning the fundamentals of recruiting and running a board.

Step 1: Select & Recruit Your Nonprofit's Founding Board of Directors

Even if you’ve never started a non-profit organization before, you’ve likely heard of the board of directors, or as it is sometimes called, the board of trustees. 

No doubt, you've heard the term “board” (short for Board of Directors) referred to with regard to both nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies. But unlike for-profit entities, nonprofits don’t have shareholders that own a piece of the action! 

That's why there's no figuring out how to start a nonprofit without learning the fundamentals of recruiting and running a board.

Lesson 2: How to Run Your Board Meeting in 30 Minutes or Less

How to Run your Board Meeting in 30 Minutes or Less

Running a board meeting involves asking humans (usually your friends, family  or colleagues) to do something they would not normally do; therefore it creates stress in the minds and hearts of nonprofit founders who don’t have lots of experience managing people and organizations.

Asking people to meet for drinks on Friday, or a walk in the park? Much easier!

The good news is, we can make this easy as well, and maybe even fun!

It is our mission in publishing this material for you to not only help you “get through” the learning curve, but to absolutely feel great about it - such as walking out of a well-run board meeting, with your Directors patting you on the pack and praising you for being such a “pro” - even if you feel like you have NO IDEA what you are doing going into the meeting!

We’re going to cover this topic in two segments: 

  1. 1
    Preparation and Mindset: First, we will cover a bit about setting up and managing the Board meeting, along with some crucial mindset tips)
  1. 2
    Second, we’ll dig into our Nine-Step Agenda for the meeting itself, which matches perfectly our PDF tutorial

The following five Board of Directors Meeting Best Practices are crucial to coming off like a “pro” - which will affect the confidence of your directors, your fundraising, etc.:

  1. Prepare the board meeting agenda in advance: This will increase productivity during the meeting by reducing the time needed to present and review information.
    The agenda packet must be well organized, easy to read - avoid the impulse to add any superfluous materials. The agenda will help people understand what's going on at the meeting before they get there - versus trying to absorb a lot of information during the meeting.
  2. Make your agenda strategic: Make sure you limit the agenda to one or two strategic goals during each board meeting. Depending on the number of your strategic goals and the number of board meetings you have in a year, you can adjust based upon your needs and available time.
  3. Start and end on time: Time constraints are a wonderful thing, hence the name of this training “How to Run Your Board Meeting in 30 Minutes or Less”.  Because if you aim for 30 minutes and you end up with 45, you're worlds better off than 95% of other nonprofit boards. We recommend you share an attitude of “gamifying” objectives (such as hitting a predetermined meeting length) by being super organized and helping keep everyone on point. 
  4. Address Decisions, not Updates: One of the ways that you can end meetings in the time allotted is to address decisions in your board meeting, not updates. At its core, the purpose of a board meeting is to present and clarify information and reports that actually contribute to decisions.
    Those decisions then result in written resolutions.
    Requiring any information to be considered to be sent in written form well ahead of the meeting - and restricting board meeting discussion to specific questions about that information - is key. Resist getting “in the weeds” with unplanned discussions and “topic surfing”.
  5. Keep good meeting minutes. Reliable notes are like life insurance - you hope you’ll never need them but you better have them just in case!  The easiest way to handle this Board meeting obligation is to simply record the meeting on a smartphone, computer, or handheld digital recording device - technology advances have taken away any excuse NOT to record the meeting. Not only does this take away the pressure on your secretary or whomever is making the notes at the meeting, but recording provides insurance for the organization should anyone challenge what was actually discussed and decided at a meeting.

​Mindset of the Board Chairman - the Secret Weapon for awesome meetings!

We cannot overemphasize the importance of the chair's role in running board meetings, and in managing the board overall.

​On the presentation slide for this training, you’ll notice a “No Squirrels Allowed” icon - keep it focused, because the meeting dynamic is set by the chairperson of the meeting.

​The demeanor and authority of the chair is paramount to keeping control of the meeting.

Poorly chaired board meetings are the number one annoyance with the board of directors typically, and are among the top reasons people resign from serving on a Board.

​The most competent people will be the first to resign, as meetings wind up being too long, too unfocused, and ultimately too stressful.

​So to keep the meeting running smoothly, the chair must have a kind but firm, authoritative tone - guiding and interjecting during the meeting to keep discussions relevant.

​Often, members of your Board of Directors will, see it as their job as to ask a lot of questions and explore myriad topics; the board meeting is not the place to do that.

​In reality, creating a framework for keeping meetings under control and tamping down distractions paves the way for strategic progress toward your organization's mission.

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