Achoo. Bless you.
Usually, when I hear someone sneeze, I hope they have covered their face as to not spread germs, and then I offer the sneezer a blessing or wish for good health. ”God bless you.” “Gesundheit.” Most cultures have a like custom.
Could spreading sneeze “germs” ever be considered a good thing? Could the blessing take on a new meaning?
Seth Godin thinks so. He wrote about a concept of being a “social media sneezer” in his book, “Ideavirus”. He describes the power of social media in the hands of influential people - spreading ideas virally through social media.
This is exactly what nonprofit board members should do - spread the story of their organization’s good works like a sneeze… a benevolent sneeze. If board members spread their passion to everyone they influence, there could be an outbreak of good work accomplished, enhanced commitment and increased resources dedicated to the cause.
Then, the wishes of good health will transform into thank yous for sneeezing!
Purpose and Passion
I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review by Nick Craig and Scott Snook entitled, "From Purpose to Impact", subtitled, "Figure out your passion and put it to work". It really struck a chord with me personally because of my recent career shift to the nonprofit community. I started wondering, in hindsight, how well I had followed their advice.
The authors talk about first finding your purpose, then setting goals and developing a plan to achieve the goals. They contend that this will breed success in life as well as work.
They also present a step-by-step framework that people can use to identify their purpose and develop an impact plan to achieve concrete results. Effective purpose-to-impact plans use language that is uniquely meaningful to the individual. They suggest you uncover themes in your life, your interests and values in order to find clarity about who you truly are.
To some, this could sound pretty idealistic or maybe even too difficult to tackle. But the authors bring the concepts to life (and down to earth) by recommending you support your own vision by intentionally planning how you will achieve it. So, as in the work we do here at BCNP, we help our clients begin with a vision, clarify unique strengths, set goals and develop plans to achieve them.
If we can help you put your passion to work through the volunteer opportunities we offer, please contact us right away.
Can a board be too engaged?
Most of the organizations we work with are medium to small in size. They depend on their boards for direction, fundraising, hands-on help with legal or financial issues, strategic planning, and more. Having a fully engaged board is critical for these organizations.
What happens when the board is too engaged? Sometimes, unnecessary chaos. It’s important for a board to understand its responsibilities. It’s equally important for the board members to understand what is not the board’s responsibility and should be left in the hands of their chief executive. That isn’t to say the board shouldn’t help their executive when help is requested, though they hired the executive to do a job and should let the him or her do it.
Written job descriptions, annual performance reviews, and board self-assessments can all go a long way toward clearer responsibilities and more effective operations.
Sharing responsibilities between the board and the ED can be a delicate balancing act. It’s important to delineate and clarify the respective responsibilities before a problem happens. This isn’t always easy; it is always a good idea.
My special thanks to Carla Barrows-Wiggins for her lead on this blog entry!
We provide professional consulting services at an extremely low cost. In addition, we are committed to giving back in a very tangible form - every year our Board donates the bulk of our net income back to local charities. Which brings me to a very exciting announcement: Our board has designated the Michigan Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as our 2014 donation recipient.
I am so very proud to be a part of Business Consultants for Non-Profits.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS in Michigan and raise funds for critical MS research. The National MS Society's vision is: A World Free of MS.
The NMSS Michigan Chapter can be reached at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Chapters/MIG. Please visit them to see the good work they do for people living with MS.
In my next life, I plan to come back as a Golden Retriever.
I will be so happy all the time.
Mostly, I will be happy just pleasing people.
All I will need is an occasional belly rub. And of course, food.
And stuffed animals.
And naps in the sun.
And some more attention, please.
What else could anyone really want?!
Linda Braun, BCNP's President, is an executive with expertise in performance improvement and organizational development. Here you'll find her musings on serving the nonprofit community.