Archive for March, 2016

When board members are lousy: Simone Joyaux has answers

FiringBookCoverAuthor Simone Joyaux asks these questions: “How many times have you sat in a boardroom and wished you were someplace else? How many times did your wish relate to others in the room? Maybe some particular person?”

Joyaux acknowledges we’ve all been there. Perhaps the feeling occurs only in passing but what do we do when our feeling about a board member arises more frequently in response to a pattern of legitimately bad behavior?

Unfortunately, the author explains that too often we do nothing about it for a variety of reasons:

1) We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

2) We’re afraid of conflict or confrontation.

3) Volunteer work is supposed to be fun.

4) We’re all just volunteers so let’s avoid the challenging issues.

No matter the reason, Joyaux asserts we cannot compromise the organization’s quality due to a little discomfort or the loss of a bad board member’s donation. In short, it’s unacceptable.

Why? Because of the great costs to your cause in the areas of organizational integrity, delivery on mission impact and ability to retain good board members, to name only a few.

There are no quick fixes or silver bullets for turning around bad board member performance. The good news is there are answers.

Board versus board members

One of the strategies that I particularly liked in Joyaux’s Firing Lousy Board Members and Helping Others Succeed was her focus on the distinction between the individual and the group.

Joyaux emphasizes the critical importance of every board distinguishing between a collective board and its individual members. Each has a distinct role. The collective board makes the decisions, not necessarily unanimously, and presents a united front in supporting those decisions. It treats all board members equally, including the board chair, as no one board member is more important than another.

Joyaux provides a list of board responsibilities. A sampling of the list follows:

·      Establish charitable contributions goals.

·      Define board member performance expectations regarding fund development.

·      Define values, mission, vision and strategic direction.

·      Ensure financial sustainability by adopting a budget and fund development plan and monitoring performance.

·      Hire, appraise and fire the chief executive.

In contrast, the individual board members have different responsibilities. Some of their main responsibilities include:

·      Attend board meetings.

·      Engage in board conversation. (Silence is consent and is not acceptable.)

·      Give a financial contribution.

·      Help nurture relationships with donors and people interested in the cause.

·      Help carry out fundraising activities.

·      Ask strategic questions.

Keep evaluation of the board and individual separateadaptivepath-com

By separating the individual trustee from the collective effort, it’s not only easier to establish accountability and volunteer job descriptions, the chair and executive director can fall back on each line that describes the discretionary effort of each person rather than dillute someone’s lack of effort in the overall board’s outcomes.

In Firing Lousy Board Members, Joyaux explains how it’s imperative that you move quickly with underperforming board members because your cause deserves better. While she acknowledges this task is not always easy, this guide will provide what Joyaux calls helpful “recipes.” What’s more, Joyaux has done everything she’s suggested in this book—not only as a staff member but also as a board member and chair.

See a book summary of this title and other relevant titles:

Firing Lousy Board Members…and Helping Others Succeed

Super Boards

The Ultimate Board Member’s Book

The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership

Image credits: Charity Channel Press

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Podcast with Jim Hornickel about nonprofit negotiations

NegotiatingSuccessBookCoverAccording to Negotiating Success author Jim Hornickel, people around the world have been taught for too long that every win requires a loser. Instead, he says, successful negotiations are built on the goal of having both parties win, yielding long-term positive outcomes for both sides.

All conversations are negotiations 

Negotiating Success, in your personal and professional life, provides you with seasoned advice on how to improve strategies and outcomes in negotiating anything. “All conversations are negotiations. Whether small personal exchanges or large, complex business contracts, we are negotiating all the time,” claims author Jim Hornickel.

He suggests two key questions to consider when in negotiations: “What negotiating skills do you have to work with?” and “Who are you being as you negotiate?”

Negotiations reflect an emphasis on the relationships involved. Hornickel explains that when negotiations are built upon the goal of having both sides win, “magic happens.”

This week, we had the pleasure of talking with Jim Hornickel about the incredible negotiation lessons in this book. I found myself scribbling notes as we spoke, thinking how relevant his advice is for many of the conversations I have every week.

When he says all conversations are really negotiations, it’s true. Listen to his answers and ponder what encounters you’ve had with partners, contractors, stakeholders, board members and others.  I hope you get as much out of these answers to our questions as I did. Thanks, Jim.

1) Book premise

2) Negotiating advice for nonprofits (Cialdini’s six principles)

3) Importance of emotional intelligence or EQ

4) Development of emotional intelligence

5) Tricky areas in negotiations you should be aware of

We tend to think of negotiations as isolated events from our day-to-day conversations, when in fact, they’re very much a part of our entire day–every day. If you’d like to build better rapport and have more of your discussions result in win-win outcomes, look into Hornickel’s book. It is a highly logical guide that presents a holistic approach to the hard and soft skills needed for ethical negotiations.

After reading his book, you’ll have a better understanding of how to negotiate successfully for the mutual benefit of all parties involved. What’s more, Hornickel provides you with ways to expand your emotional intelligence through self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and management of relationships.

To learn more, see our book summary of Hornickel’s Negotiating Success, plus a description of his management title:

Negotiating Success: Tips and Tools for Building Rapport and Dissolving Conflict While Still Getting What You Want 

Managing From the Inside Out: 16 Insights for Building Positive Relationships with Staff

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Get Smarter Give-Away: The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards

downloadWe believe the best things in life are free. That’s why we’re giving you a chance to win a free copy of The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards in our Get Smarter Give-Away.

Fundraising Habits author Jerold Panas has worked with more than 400 boards and raised billions of dollars. He’s written this book to help boards learn from his mistakes and wins along the way.

Jerry’s relatable stories will help your board members adopt the right habits with fundraising and they’ll appreciate a book that’s written specifically for them. If you have a board that’s hesitant about raising funds or simply needs a boost, enter our drawing and give your board a great tool.


How to enter the drawing:

Simply send us an email at and write “free drawing” in the subject line.

See book summaries about board fundraising:

A Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Board Members

Super Boards: How Inspired Governance Transforms Your Organization

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Put your own stories to work when winning others over

business2community-comPeople tell stories all the time and don’t realize it. “This book is actually designed to help you pay better attention to the stories you tell, so you can teach, build vision, share a process or introduce a new idea more effectively,” says storytelling thought leader Annette Simmons.

Influence, persuade, inspire

Simmons explains why storytelling that is used to influence others is more than a tool for the marketing professional or fundraiser. Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins is widely applied by leaders to influence, persuade and inspire. In Whoever Tells, you’ll learn how to build consensus, win others over to your point of view, and foster group decision making by using six kinds of stories.

These stories are often the reasons why donors give, why board members act, why stakeholders advocate or why people collaborate. Annette Simmons not only explains why this skill is so critical to everyone, but also how to learn and develop what many people mistakenly believe is a rare gift only a few of us enjoy.

Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins takes you step by step through the process of identifying and choosing stories from your own life, experience and knowledge, and then linking them, fully and authentically, to the themes, messages and goals of your workplace.designpm-com

You’ll gain skills in how to influence others, improve collective decision making and leverage the approval of ideas you’re presenting. Simmons helps you accomplish these goals by using six kinds of stories:

Six kinds of stories

1.     Who-I-Am Stories: People need to know who you are before they can trust you.

2.     Why-I-Am-Here Stories: People can be wary so you must disarm them by sharing your agenda.

3.     Teaching Stories: Some lessons are best learned from telling a story that creates a shared experience.

4.     Vision Stories: The idea of a worthy, exciting future can reframe difficulties and diminish obstacles.

5.     Values-In-Action Stories: Tell a story that illustrates the real-world manifestation of a value.

6.     I-Know-What-You-Are-Thinking Stories: These stories address possible suspicions and dispel them to build trust.

Working definition, how to identify good stories and Simmons’ approach

Simmons defines “story” as a “reimagined experience narrated with enough detail and feeling to cause your listeners’ imaginations to experience it as real.” There are many other definitions but this one is helpful because it keeps you focused on stories that influence and change perceptions.

She adds, “Stories replenish information with the food of human connection and reignite powerful motivations stimulated when we feel the sense of our shared humanity.”

According to the author, once you know how to find and tell stories that feel personal to you and your receivers, you have what you need to acknowledge, connect with and emotionally move others. The best storytellers understand how to use their own emotional responses as indicators of what will resonate with others.

Why you must tell stories from the inside out

Most storytelling advice instructs you to tell the story from the outside in. All stories have a beginning, middle and end. They have a plot, character, setting, conflict and resolution. These elements are all true but they don’t generate an emotional connection.

Conversely, telling personal stories teaches you storytelling from the inside out, which puts emotion and personal connection first. “Unless you bring a beating heart to your message, it is dead. But when you tell your own heartfelt stories about what is meaningful in your life and work, you get the hang of finding stories that frame life and work in emotionally meaningful ways for your listeners.”

Why you should take a closer look at Simmons’ book

If you find yourself in any situation where it is essential to engage a listener, audience, prospect, board or task force, you will find Whoever Tells exceptionally useful. Simmons’ well-researched and example-rich chapters help you build a foundation of stories that will become useful to you in a variety of settings. The book is well-written, clearly organized and an enjoyable read. In storytelling terms, there are no cliff hangers. Rather, Simmons provides you with heroic ideas and satisfying endings to each chapter.

See books and summaries for related titles:

Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising

Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money

How to Write Fundraising Materials That Raise More Money

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Podcast: Are you ready to consider impact investing?

impactinvestorcoverAs Millennials move into new leadership roles, they are demanding the opportunity to align every facet of their lives with making a positive difference in the world. A new capitalism, what Ben Thornley and his coauthors call Collaborative Capitalism, is focused on more than just financial returns to make an impact on the world’s issues.

One tool of Collaborative Capitalism is called impact investing. This new form of investing focuses on delivering positive social and environmental outcomes alongside competitive financial returns.

In the new book, Impact Investing: Lessons in Leadership and Strategy for Collaborative Capitalism, the authors examined 12 outstanding impact investment funds that met or exceeded expectations in a two-year study.

They uncover the practices that make these funds successful and outline the strategies that all investors, from corporate executives to change agents to philanthropists, can apply to their own organizations to achieve high performance in both social and financial outcomes.

We had a chance to discuss the exciting implications for nonprofits in a recent conversation with coauthor, Ben Thornley. Feel free to click on any of his answers to the topics we present below in the podcast excerpts:

1) Ben Thornley–Premise and NP benefits

2) Ben Thornley–Indicators for nonprofits

3) Ben Thornley–New trends

4) Ben Thornley–Nonprofits first steps

Increasingly, financial institutions and corporations around the world are using Collaborative Capitalism as a tool to generate clear, positive social outcomes in addition to profits. This book will help nonprofits learn how capital can be used to drive social and environmental change as well as how to attract potential investors.

Financial tools are increasingly being used to support community vehicles, including nonprofits, cooperatives and social enterprises. The Impact Investor gives a comprehensive overview of the approaches successful impact investors have used to increase their probability of success.

See also:

The NON Nonprofit: For-Profit Thinking for Nonprofit Success

Cash Flow Strategies: Innovation in Nonprofit Financial Management

The Nonprofit Business Plan: The Leader’s Guide to Creating a Successful Business Mode

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