Alliance for Nonprofit Management

Voices of Nonprofit Board Chairs

The Alliance for Nonprofit Management's Governance Affinity Group has published an important research paper titled, "Voices of Nonprofit Board Chairs," intended to inform the field with first-hand perspectives on board leadership. Given the importance of board leadership to the success of nonprofit organizations, there is a remarkable lack of research or evidence to provide guidance.  As one of the few studies on board chairs, this research helps to answer two questions:  How do individuals prepare for their role as chair of a nonprofit board, and what do board chairs perceive their leadership roles to be in relationship to the board, the community, and the CEO?

To learn more about the study and its implications for practice, download the report here.

Please contact me if you want to work on your board's leadership at


The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit is Coming!

I attended the Alliance for Nonprofit Management conference in Portland, OR at the beginning of October.  It was my first exposure to the organization, and my intentions were to make some new friends and contacts, learn something, and see some of Portland.  I'm happy to report that I was able to attain all of my goals (special shout-out to the incredible food trucks of Portland!). The highlight of the conference for me was a keynote presentation by Beth Kanter, an amazing thought leader and author of the award-winning Networked Nonprofit books.  I have seen Beth speak several times, and she never disappoints. Her stated topic was, “The Nonprofit Work Ethic Reinvented in An Age of Hyper Connectivity: Strategies for Impact Without Burnout," which included a preview of her next book, The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit, which she is writing with social media guru Aliza Sherman.  This power duo is taking on the challenges that nonprofits and the people who love them face regarding organizational culture and personal habits for sustainable impact.

Many nonprofits operate with a "scarcity mindset": everyone feels compelled to work long hours with limited resources and without encouragement or investment in self-care (sound familiar?). This work ethic is not only outdated, it's not sustainable. It leads to burnout and dissatisfaction and turnover and so many other not-great things. But what if things were different? What if nonprofits took a more people-focused approach to how they do their work? What if there was a culture of replenishment and abundance?

As social media has taken hold in the nonprofit sector, the constant need to be "connected" is contributing to the feelings of being overworked and overwhelmed that are so common. While being connected can help nonprofits engage with practically anyone to achieve their goals, there are human limits and costs to connectivity. Beth and Aliza's book promises to address these challenges and set us on a course of renewal that can lead to even more productivity and impact for all.

I'm really looking forward to it! Check out Beth's blog where you can also see the beautiful graphic illustration that was  done at the Alliance conference during her presentation.



Summertime and the Working is Easy

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.              John Lubbock I've done my fair share of listening to the ocean and watching the clouds float by this summer, but I haven't neglected work: I've spent some of the slower days catching up on webinars, podcasts, TED Talks and reading so I can be at the top of my game. And I've made plans for even more professional development before the end of the year. I'll be heading to Portland in October for the Alliance for Nonprofit Management conference.

What have you been doing this summer for your professional growth?  Email me at and let me know!