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Knowledgeable Boards: A Choice, Not an Assumption

Non-profit associations function on an interesting governance premise

Non-profit associations function on an interesting governance premise – we have volunteer boards of directors who are relied upon to set the vision and direction the organization should take in pursuit of their vision and mission. All-too-often, boards gather around the table with the intention of representing a larger membership, and in some cases, industry, but are only informed by their own experience or personal network. Seeking insight and broader perspectives is an active choice on the part of governance and the association, and of the many paths to achieving listening mastery for our leadership, we most often rely upon reports as pre-reads before the board meeting. In focusing on this as a vehicle of knowledge growth, the level of knowledge mastery most often falls in one of the following levels – written in ascending knowledge potential:

  1. 1. Come as you are – This is when items appear on the board agenda without any corresponding background/analysis/information. In these cases, we are asking board members for input strictly based on their own experience and personal reference. While we rely upon their ability to put the association interest first in all decisions, these processes are absent of larger voice.
  2. Pages of reports – The reports of committees, councils, special interest groups, components, task forces and staff all make up the pre-board meeting reading packet. While we may lament our board members don’t do a full read of their materials, we are relying on them to read every page, pulling out the key points that they need to bring to the board table at the meeting.

Please select this link to read the complete blog post from Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, CPF.

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