What Gear Is Your Board In? Part 2

Last week we compared the current state of your board with the gears of an automobile.

Incase you missed it: LINK

The natural next question is: How do I know what gear we’re in now?

Here are two suggestions for determining the current health of your board.

#1 Have each member confidentially pick one from the list below and submit their answer to a third party. Then tally the votes, plot all the scores, determine the average, and publish the results to the full board.

  • Park
  • Reverse
  • Neutral
  • Low
  • Drive
  • Overdrive

 

#2 Or, if you’re not into gears, use this simple survey. Have each member rate the following attributes on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest or best. Submit them a third party to tally the results.

  • What part did the board play in achieving the ministry’s goals this past year?
  • Are all board members prepared for meetings?
  • Do all board members contribute to meetings?
  • Do board members vote independently?
  • Do board members micromanage the organization (1) or act strategically (10)?
  • Is the board devoting time to board education or training?
  • Does the board regularly evaluate its performance?
  • Does the board evaluate the Chair’s performance annually?
  • Does the board evaluate the CEO’s performance annually?
  • What is the overall unity of the board?

The maximum score is 100. When all the results are in and averaged, use the school grading system to determine your current health. 91-100 = A; 81-90 = B; 71-80 = C; 61-70 = D; 60 and below = F

We'd love to hear your results!

Need additional help? At Ministry Ventures we have other board assessment tools available through our coaching programs. We also have several coaches who can consult with you personally on board issues. And they are experienced in leading board training and retreats if your board needs a tune-up.

Arnold Kimmons

Coach - Upstate South Carolina

MV Director of Operations and Finance

akimmons@ministryventures.org

For more faith-based nonprofit resources visit  www.MinistryVentures.org.


What Gear Is Your Board In? Part 1

We’re all familiar with the different gears of an automobile. It can be a helpful metaphor when assessing the current state of a board of directors.

Where is your board?

See if you recognize them in the following descriptions.

P – Park

Stopped, going nowhere. Board members are disengaged, unprepared, non-participating, vote with the crowd, and have nothing of value to add. They may be serving for the wrong reasons like just checking a box for their LinkedIn profile or rubbing shoulders with “important” people.

R – Reverse

Even worse, they are openly working against the mission of the organization. There is hostility towards the CEO and staff, internal division among members, and dissention.

N - Neutral

Idling, engaged and active but not making progress. This might be the right gear for now depending on the situation. Are you in a period of transition? Are you moving from R to D? Then it’s OK to idle for now. But if you’re moving from D to R, that’s not OK.

L - Low

Headed in the right direction but moving slowly, cautiously. Again, it may be appropriate for your current state. Or it may indicate a board that is too timid and not willing to change or grow.

D - Drive

You are making good progress toward mission goals. There is a healthy board culture with a diversity of opinion but once a decision is made the board is speaking with one voice. The board is focused on strategic issues instead of micro-managing the CEO, staff or programs.

O - Overdrive

The Board is out-running the CEO and the organization. They have stopped governing and started managing. Usually this is not a good gear but it could be appropriate in times of crisis or if CEO is ineffective.

 

What gear is your board in now? Is it right one for the current situation? If it’s the wrong gear, is that due to the issues you face, the membership of the board or its leadership?

 

What gear does your board need to shift into next? What’s holding them back? What actions steps are needed? Again, is it the issues, the membership or the leadership?

 

Next time [week] we’ll look at a couple of assessment tools to help you determine your current gear!

 

At Ministry Ventures we have board assessment tools available through our coaching programs. We also have several coaches who can consult with you personally on board issues. And they are experienced in leading board training and retreats if your board needs a tune-up.

Until next week,

Arnold Kimmons

Coach - Upstate South Carolina

MV Director of Operations and Finance

akimmons@ministryventures.org

For more faith-based nonprofit resources visit  www.MinistryVentures.org.


Risky Business - What You Need To Know About Nonprofit Risk Management

A standard tool of strategic planning is the SWOT analysis. S for Strengths, W for Weaknesses, O for Opportunities, and T for Threats. In my experience the T is often the hardest section to complete, and with good reason. Identifying Threats to your ministry is lot like trying to see around a corner.

Assuming you don’t have this super power, there are still some things you can do to protect your ministry from unforeseen risks.
Start by developing a relationship with an insurance agent, preferably one that specializes in nonprofits or churches. They can help you determine areas of risk that are specific to your organization. Here are some areas you should review with them

  • Is your general liability policy up to date?
  • Do you need a separate rider to cover your events?
  • Offering alcoholic beverages at events may require additional coverage
  • Is your D&O policy (Directors & Officers) up to date with the correct names and addresses. If you don’t have a D&O policy, get one. You won’t be able to attract quality board candidates without it.
  • Are donor records protected from cyberattack? This is both an insurance and IT issue. You need the proper technological protection in addition to insurance.
  • Do you have any intellectual property that needs to be protected? Have you written curriculum or created a product that needs to be copyrighted and possibly trademarked?
  • Are you prepared for cultural or political activism? Find an expert to help you craft your statement of faith and hiring policies with regard to gender identity, marriage and similar issues.
  • If you own real property, or provide housing or transportation, you have additional insurance needs. Make sure you’re covered.
  • There may be areas of risk that are unique to your ministry, like children or ex-offenders, etc. Discuss these needs with your professional insurance agent.

 

It is impossible to protect your ministry 100%. And nobody really wants to expend a lot of energy on these types of issues. But it is good stewardship and good, common sense to take these steps to make sure you are protected from unforeseen circumstances. That is, unless you can see around corners…

 

Arnold Kimmons, Director of Operations & Finance

akimmons@ministryventures.org