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Mike Burns
Asking the right planning questions to support nonprofit success.
Interests: Assessments: internal challenges; board/staff relationships; ventures; merger prospects. If you would like to know more about me and my firm, please visit my web site:
Recent Activity
As a consultant who singularly works in the nonprofit sector I regularly defend that nonprofit, sans the greed motive of corporations and the public demand of citizens, are best. They are governed by volunteers. They are not driven by greed.... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The Jacksonville YMCA is utilizing a structure and nomenclature that I believe to be a very appropriate and useful approach to utilizing volunteers to inform its programming. With a purpose to "ensure the entire military community was heard" the Y... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Today, nonprofit board composition is a BIG topic particularly when considering diversity, inclusion and equity which are obviously topics that include more than just composition. A new museum, Planet Word, is about to open in Washington, DC. Planet Word, as... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
A short chapter in the misdeeds of President Trump ended Friday with the closure of the Trump Foundation. To a great extent, this closure came as a result of proven technicalities. Few in general might think the misdeeds of the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
In my ongoing work with nonprofit boards I am conscious that what is happening in terms of governance by the for-profit world is not quite happening in the nonprofit world. The general rule for boards is that governance has three... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Today's boards (nonprofit and corporate): male, pale and stale. But, must they, can they, stay that way? No!!! The following Forbes article speaks to the conditions and opportunities if not mandates for changing this. The Boards, They Are A-Transformin’ Michael... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I read this news note today: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation announced William Wright II as its new board of trustees chair last week. Wright, who retired from his position as managing director of Morgan Stanley nine years ago, also serves... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I among many have offered that nonprofit boards really do matter for their institutions. But, how and how much they matter is often a mystery for these institution's constituents. But when "###" hits the fan, how and how much boards... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
It is likely an unacknowledged given that in a nonprofit board there are just a few (or several depending on the size of the board) who "rule the coop". Rule the coop you say: impossible! But not so says nonprofit... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
No nonprofit manager or board makes perfect decisions. They are human and/or are comprised of humans. If we all had the ability to see the future, our decisions might be different, buts alas, we do not. A community organizing group... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Ok, Pacifica Radio has had a storied history, so much so that there is even a book that chronicles, among other things, significant in-fighting by the board and staff: Pacifica Radio: The Rise of an Alternative Network (American Subjects) by... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The following is a piece on getting the most value from a nonprofit board. There are some helpful points although I must say most is more common sense than research-based. That can be ok - if someone has tried it... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The following "conventional wisdom" is brought to you by the Tennessee Democrat. I cannot say I agree with all that is said here about getting board members to participate in the fundraising efforts of a nonprofit. My primary argument: you... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The debate now renewed in the courts: which nonprofit has responsibility and liability for the wrongdoing of its employees. Under the auspice of the US Olympic Committee is the USA Taekwondo (USAT) nonprofit. Three former athletes have identified having been... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Despite encouragement from many of the nonprofit media sources and associations (e.g. Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Quarterly, National Council on Nonprofits) nonprofit board members are most often uneasy in giving voice to political issues that negatively affect their nonprofits and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Connecticut has a new Foundation - a partnership between a private sector entity and the public sector focused on improvement of schools. Good idea and some money. But this new partnership wants to not be accountable for its conversations or... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Finding the "right" board member appears as a forever challenge to nonprofit boards. There are so many criteria to be considered, by some boards, so few connections, by other boards, so little time and willingness for the hunt. The following... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
While the focus of this 10/7/2019 Wall Street Journal story centers around CFOs and transitions from for-profit to nonprofit, there's some great analysis of the competing choices and challenges that face nonprofits and a hint at some of the solutions.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Just how far a board can go to essentially fail its duties and its members/donors is being exhibited by the NRA's board. One case, multiply repeated, is the way the board has handled what might be (and are) questionable transactions... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
the following is a somewhat informative treatise on nonprofit board service. I'm not in total agreement on every point but many points are good to me. Tell me what you think. From the Vail Valley: Romer: Board service is a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
What happens at the Vatican provides a window into the life of a theocracy. Good governance, even adequate governance may be one of the costs of such a governmental style as a recent raid by the Vatican Police on the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Every now and then I like highlighting stories where a board member almost got away with the nonprofit's till. The good news in the following story is that the board member did not succeed thanks to follow-up investigation. But the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I lean toward agreeing with the following assessment of both using a matrix analysis for figuring-out gaps on a board and installing accountants or the like on a board because they are accountants or the like. Here's the piece from... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The National Association of Corporate Boards' latest report states that "boards, in close partnership with management, will require a greater speed of decision making, proactive behaviors, adaptability, and innovation.” I pose that your board or at least the Governance Committee... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Over the years I have frequently criticized the Boy Scouts organization. They have homophobic policies and have barely addressed this. They have member leaders who have been pedaphiles: apologized but, have policies changed? They have troops that get that are... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis