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Planning FAQs
Top Issues for 2011

"May you live in interesting times". Although some believe this is a blessing, others believe it is an ancient Chinese curse. Either way, I think most would agree these are definitely interesting times. What will the future bring? No one knows for sure but I believe these issues will come up time and again in most board rooms in 2011.

Growth - How can you grow your organization while the economy struggles to regain its footing? Growing faster than your market requires that you gain market share or you expand to other markets. The days of riding the wave of economic prosperity may be over at least for a while. Growth will require winning - not just showing up.

Uncertainty/Risk Management - What is your "plan B"? What is the worst case scenario? Organizations are taking the time to analyze their situation and understand where they are most vulnerable. Following the herd is not a strategy. Advantages exist even in the worst of times but, you must be willing to manage risks and prepare to move when the time is right.

People Development - Most organizations have been required to do more with fewer people. As a result, jobs have been combined, responsibilities have been broadened and individuals have been told to manage more complex tasks. This reverses a long trend toward specialization and single-function responsibilities. These changes must be supported by significant training and development.

Succession Planning - It is finally happening. The Baby Boomers are retiring. Entire management teams, who have worked together for years, are starting to plan for their next stage in life. Succession planning is more than just picking a successor. The greatest challenge is capturing the knowledge, experience and relationships of an entire generation of managers.

Organizational Effectiveness - An effective organization uses its resources wisely. It focuses on results instead of effort. It has clear priorities that are communicated and understood by everyone in the organization. It is staffed with people who don't ignore a problem just because it is not their responsibility. An effective organization has a clear Vision in place and constantly makes decisions and takes actions to get closer to that Vision. In short, they have a strategy and they methodically execute the strategy every day.
Free Nonprofit Board Assessment Tool
For more information, click the link below.

If you would like to use the online assessment tool, simply send me an email and I will add your organization to the list.
Poll Question
The poll question last quarter asked: How do you think the economy in 2011 will compare to 2010? Here is the result:
4%Much Better
79%Somewhat Better
17%About the Same
0%Somewhat Worse
0%Much Worse
Our poll question this quarter is: Compared to today, where do you think the level of inflation will be this time next year?

  • Much Higher
  • Somewhat Higher
  • About the Same
  • Somewhat Lower
  • Much Lower
  • We will report the results in the next issue. Click here to participate in our poll. You may return to the Poll Page to monitor the results as often as you like.
    The Three Stages of a Nonprofit Board
    A nonprofit board will evolve over time as the organization matures. This evolution is predictable and tends to follow three stages:

    Hands On - Often involved in the start up phase of the organization, these board members are an extension of the staff and are more than willing to roll up their sleeves and help deliver the services. They often have a personal connection to the population being served.

    Expert - As the organization matures, it tends to seek out board members with expertise in accounting, law, human resources and other management disciplines. They help keep overhead costs down by providing needed management expertise without having to hire more managers or outside resources.

    Fundraiser - The more mature organizations eventually realize that the growth and scope of the organization is driven more by revenue than by expenses. They shift their focus to fundraising and recognize the potential of the board to play a significant role in raising money.

    The lines between these stages are not as crisp as you may expect. Depending on where it is in its evolution, a board may be comprised of a combination of all three types of members. In order to move along the stages, it is often necessary to recruit new board members. One of the arguments for term limits is that it generates more opportunities to manage the mix of board members as the needs of the organization evolve.
    For more information contact - Jim Sisson
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