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Take Your Board to the Next Level This Month

*Photo courtesy of

*Photo courtesy of

In connection with our PMA Innovation Series, we are focusing on Governance this month. Within the nonprofit sector, governance has a direct connection with boards of directors and advisory groups. The relationship between boards, staff and donors requires teamwork, communication and commitment. With these thoughts in mind, here is a sampling of our PMA blog posts around governance. Simply click on the blog post title to find the content.

Nonprofit Innovation Series – Governance: The economic downturn has changed the way that boards of directors engage with donors and staff. The onslaught of financial scandals within the non-profit sector has also changed the expertise needed on a board. This is the first post in a series of four that will highlight key trends in governance around the Charlotte market and include an interview with Michael Marsicano of Foundation for the Carolinas.

The Impact of Consensus on Nonprofit Boards: Open dialogue and challenging conversation are elements of a good board meeting, but how is your board faring in these areas? Allowing healthy debate into the board room will help strengthen a nonprofit’s governance model. PMA’s own David Ibsen uses research from his masters’ thesis to discuss this topic.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff! Reflecting on the Nuances of Various Board Models of Governance Versus Working Boards: When a new nonprofit starts, many of the board members are also the main volunteers in every area. Growth in the nonprofit results in hiring staff, yet some board members are reluctant to release their working responsibilities and become more of a governing voice for the organization. Are you a working board or a governing board?

Building Strategic and Diverse Nonprofit Boards: In March 2012, PMA attended a valuable workshop sponsored by the Arts and Science Council and BoardSource, a national, nonprofit resource on board content. The workshop was designed to enable nonprofit staff and existing board members to “move beyond political correctness and cultivate a diverse board.” The pursuit of a diverse board is critical but only in the context of achieving a cultural shift in how you engage your members, where inclusion is more than a list of unique names and demographics on a roster.

Board Enlistment: The Reality of the Board Matrix: The development of the Board of Directors is undoubtedly one of the more critical responsibilities of any nonprofit organization. In our scan of the nonprofit sector, PMA has found that many organizations often rush to identify, recruit, elect and orient new board members in an effort to address their growing tension over vacant board seats and declining organizational health. A board matrix can be a useful tool to help assess both desirable and undesirable areas of expertise, qualities, and characteristics of potential board members against the capacity of current board members and emerging organizational priorities.

Trench Warfare – Recruiting Winning Board Members: Although identifying and recruiting quality board members for your nonprofit have never been easy, the task has certainly become more challenging in the post-Recession era. Gone are the days (thankfully) of meetings consisting of lengthy committee reports and the ensuing arduous discussions around them. Today, leaders are looking for meaning and purpose in their precious free time. Wearing the noble badge of board member today means rolling proverbial sleeves up and engaging at a fully-committed and meaningful level.

May these articles spark new ideas for your board this month. Patton McDowell & Associates (PMA) offers board facilitation and presentation services for non-profit organizations across the Southeast. For more information on these services, please contact our Managing Director, Josh Jacobson, at