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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
I found the following treatise on why boards behave badly in the Better Boards Newsletter. This newsletter is published by the Australian equivalent of BoardSource. I recommend the newsletter as I believe that Better Boards has a very common sense... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The State legislature of Illinois is near to passing a bill that will require public companies to diversify their boards. The bill specifies that there be one woman and one African-American seat. We know that "one" of a diverse body... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
According to an article in BetterBoards (the Australian equivalent to US-BoardSource , "board behavioural dynamics are a central driver in producing strong organisational outcomes". In simpler terms, the literature, as applied to nonprofit board members, helps board better understand who... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I know that diversity is a hot topic in the nonprofit sector. I am convinced by the research that diversity, that is, diversity that ensures that those served have seats on the board to in-turn ensure that services lead to... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Checks and balances; risk prevention and management; financial oversight: traditional/required duties of a nonprofit board but apparently, not the board of Columbus Area Integrated. Nope, filing for bankruptcy, the agency and its partner are in serious financial difficulty. Still unanswered... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Nonprofit boards have a purpose: to ensure the pursuit of mission and with that, ensure that tax exempt dollars are used for this purpose. Sunday's New York Times described a nonprofit that was given lots of money to help offset... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
From Philanthropy Daily I found an article titled "Four Keys for Structuring an Effective Nonprofit Board". I would pose that the author kind-of has the right idea but that first, the focus is on efficiency not effectiveness. Effectiveness I suggest,... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Many of the media ads in the 40s through the 60s offered tools that help promises to improve the life of the "housewife": better everything as technology improved and indeed, even washing the clothes got easier but the tasks themselves... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The Sackler "give-back" program is growing each day. More and more institutions, recipients of the corporate--greed driven family that drove the opioid crisis, are saying they can't keep the money they were given. At minimum, it's bad optics (consumers will... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I understand that the lack of diversity - gender, race, ethnicity, disabilities, income levels - is seriously lacking in nonprofit boards. The reasons are not that complex and that the reasons and the reality exists is disconcerting. That there are... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Nonprofit governance is way more than the technical transactional basics that pretty much every consultant, including myself, can tell anyone on a nonprofit board. So, to save you time on the basics, take a look at this article found in... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I've always said that despite what most volunteers believe, nonprofit board service is NOT intuitive. Those who do best often do enter boards with pertinent backgrounds but the correct answer, in my opinion for achieving effective board members, is very... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The USA Gymnastics story is far from over. According to the New York Times: A new lawsuit seeks to protect potentially thousands of abused gymnasts who might not have known about a deadline for filing claims against USA Gymnastics in... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Nonprofit Boards have significantly failed to be inclusive and representative of those they serve. But there is one population that is even more significantly under-representative according to a recent article by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and highlighted by Fast Company:... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The president of the board of the five million (more or less) strong National Rifle Association, Oliver North (yes, the Iran-Contra guy - he certainly understands the gun business) has resigned pretty much over a dispute with the executive director... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
In my opinion it is rare that the resignation of a nonprofit board president captures the attention of the news media. But the resignation of Oliver North, 20-year board member and ending the first of a two-year term as board... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Yes, Hawaii is a paradise. I can say so from first hand experience. But like everywhere in the world, people can change what should be blissful to less blissful. And while the board of the Sand Island Treatment Center appears... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
No, volunteer firefighting is not the same as nonprofit board service: or is it? The latest Governing Magazine had an article about the challenges throughout the country facing communities that rely on volunteer fire departments. Apparently, the state of this... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
When the going gets tough, the board may not want to be going but sometimes, their actions means they must go. So goes the case in the University of Maryland Medical School where a number of board members were found... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Board recruitment has been identified as a serious challenge to nonprofit boards. Boards that are clear about their needs are a step ahead of this challenge. And, boards that reach-out into their community beyond expecting that the network of those... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I will concur with the following commentator that self-perpetuating boards really don't benefit a nonprofit or for that matter, the board members themselves and/or their constituents. This system that just has folks re-elect themselves, often without term limits, leads to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
In my graduate work many, many years ago I deduced that our (we consultants) did not quite grasp that one-formula for all boards was in error. This one-formula theory posited that all boards have x duties and responsibilities and should... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Yup: 45 years! I couldn't believe it until I read the whole article and am sort-of still very impressed but also thinking: wow, would I want to sit on a nonprofit board for this long AND for all the organization... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The following commentary found in the Standard-Examiner calls nonprofit boards of directors who fail to know about and address internal "issues", "feeble". Indeed, the examples of very recent failed boards is pretty serious stuff about fairly large nonprofits. But the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Apparently, just saying that nonprofit board members cannot violate the fiduciary duty against conflicts of interest isn't enough. Take for example Maryland where a number of board members of the University of Maryland's Medical System board have acted with clear... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2019 at Nonprofit Board Crisis