December 13, 2017

Texas CASA: Visionary Leadership

To achieve success, CASA Boards must be passionately committed to the mission, possess substantial leadership skills and expertise and be organized for strategic leadership. Nothing less will do at a time when boards are facing the challenges of building long-term financial sustainability, weighing strategic restructuring options and planning for leadership succession.

The unrelenting pace of change challenges nonprofit boards to look and act differently.
Some boards have already made the transition. They possess many qualities and characteristics that together define a new profile of board effectiveness.

In this fast-paced session, participants will learn six new board profile characteristics and explore solutions to barriers their board’s face in creating visionary leadership including
• A lack of time
• Risk taking, risk avoidance
• Lack of board involvement in strategic thinking, planning and decision making
• Lack of knowledge in an increasingly complex world
• Micromanagement
• Holding on to old ways
• Failing to find the right members

Decision Making For Nonprofit Boards

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

Many nonprofit organizations struggle, quite understandably, with technology planning and investment. New computers, sophisticated websites and database systems can be expensive. Staff members may be resistant to change and to learning new applications.

But, to quote a famous saying from my homeland: “penny wise can be pound foolish”. Sound and well-thought out purchases in the short term have the potential to save significant resources in the medium to long term.

So, how should your Board of Directors and/or your Technology Committee approach technology planning and investment?

One technique is to start out with a “blue-sky” session. First, take an inventory of the capabilities that you currently have, what’s working in your operations, and your limitations and frustrations. Then, without consideration of constraints such as cost or staff resources, list the things that you should ideally be able to do.

I like to use “What’s the One Thing” questions for this process to help you focus and prioritize:

  • What’s the One Thing that you’re currently doing that is most valued by your constituents? (i.e. Board, members, founders, staff, the general public . . .)
  • What’s the One Thing that you currently don’t do that your constituents wish that you would?
  • What’s the One Thing that would give you maximum competitive advantage? (or fundraising edge, or whatever is your most burning need . . .)

Look at the procedures that are currently absorbing staff time and resources. Is there potential to streamline these, or to recreate them in a way that would be more cost-effective?

For example, many organizations produce small informational leaflets, brief white papers, or regularly updated research findings. These are sold for a few dollars, which may not cover the true cost of printing, mailing, and check or credit card processing.

An alternative is to provide these as downloadable e-books on your Website. When the buyer enters their credit card, they gain instant access to your materials in whatever format you choose – Adobe Acrobat (pdf), Word, html, etc. Once this system is set up, you should have few maintenance or support issues, and you’re in business on a 24/7 basis. You can change the documents whenever you need to, without leaving stocks of outdated print copies.

Are you using e-mail as effectively as you could?  There are elements to successful implementation of e-mail:

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