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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
It took collective bargaining, just now, May, 2022 for US Soccer Federation women to get the board to agree to pay equal to that of men. In an era when we all should be evolving versus devolving, yes, my opinion... Continue reading
Posted 47 minutes ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
If we consider what is the nature of nonprofit boards, that is, who they are, the short answer is generally that they are the citizens who have identified and want to solve a "problem" that the government or private enterprise... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Just how much does philanthropic transparency matter? And, would a board of more than three people help change public perception? These are just two of my questions raised from an investigative article by the AP and Aaron Morrison on the... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The following Jolt News contribution raises a few interesting (to me) questions that I will comment on as you read. I must first admit ignorance over what is a Certified Volunteer Administrator (I could guess) or equally important, who it... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
It's Sunday for many who read today's blog. I mention the day of the week because for Christians, this is a day of reflection about faith. The Boy Scouts was founded on christian faith principles. But over 70 years and... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Has your board faced challenges in member recruitment? The following might be a solution. Montana State University students serve on local nonprofit boards MAY 5, 2022 BOZEMAN — Eleven Montana State University students spent the academic year serving on the... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
CEO's are retiring in droves - at least that's the assessment by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and there's much evidence that this is a reality. For boards, meet the next challenge - the one challenge it is said that is... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
While nonprofit boards continue to struggle understanding and fulfilling their roles governing, the push for diversity, equity and inclusion must parallel the work needed to ensure nonprofit success. Toward this end it becomes helpful to recognize when the lack of... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Debt and ownership are two big challenges for nonprofits - particularly those in the group home "business". Parents or caretakers most often want to secure arrangements that will safeguard their care-recipient's long into the future - a future often without... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Elon Musk has taught a lesson to the Twitter Board that maybe isn't so surprising to for-profits. Musk affirmed that when the going gets tough or there's a lot of money on the table - the board will opt to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The following is from Better Boards Newsletter. I maybe like the labels for different types of board members best but there is some substance filtered throughout the 8 minute read article. BOARD Dynamics: Warmers and Saboteurs – Dealing with Difficult... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
There are many lessons that can be drawn from the following Voice of San Diego story about a board and its senior staff who sold property to "friends" at way below-market prices. I have inserted observations in a different color... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The following New Hampshire Union Leader story tells of a nonprofit board that maybe could have done better if not different. The article suggests that the board did not wholly fail in fulfilling its fiduciary duty but it could have... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Reminiscent of the Board Parliamentarian (old concept for the "process police") two folks proposed in the Stanford Social Innovation Review the idea of having a board member serve as Chief Governance Officer. The individual would perform many of the functions... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Today there's a lot of upset folks down in Ohio. The problem: Mr. Trump is coming to their county having scheduled one of his rabble rousing rallies (alliteration). But funny enough, this is not THE problem (don't ask me about... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
According to a board development person the following describes what is a "powerhouse" nonprofit board: "They make good decisions on behalf of their mission. They are nimble, influential, effective, and connected." I would offer - great at policy, planning and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Apologies from the "owner", in my opinion, matters. The New Jersey Diocese (the Roman Catholic Church of New Jersey) has apologized for its failings re child sex abuse by its priests! And yes, money helps and there will be some... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
When is a board too big? When it needs a committee that effectively does its work (you know, often called an executive committee - ick!). But when is it too small? Most states require at least 3 people but there... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I found the following intro to the importance or value of governing boards worthy of consideration - at least conceptually. Just take a look and let me know what you think is missing or of value to you. Romer: The... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I think the title of Dr. Fram's latest blog a bit misleading. While some elements of board meetings should likely be included the missing elements in particular are of a fiduciary nature while the following are more of a strategic... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
If you REALLY, REALLY and yes, REALLY want to diversify your board, aside from ALL the literature on this subject (yes, there's a lot of written material out ther) the following, really make-sense easy to read and absorb and very... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Dr. Fram has offered the following thinking about a model called LEAN. This is an approach to identifying what are methods for providing services presumably in pursuit of mission. I will say it is to Dr. Fram's credit that he... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The concept of structural parity extends well beyond what many nonprofit boards are examining through DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion efforts). A recent Washington Post article describes the current challenges the Montpelier Foundation, the overseer of James Madison's estate, has... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Irregularly local nonprofit "experts" like to share their take on what's working or not with their area nonprofits. Once in a while there is a gem found in the offering. I think just such an article was shared in the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Dr. Fram has offered in his blog some thinking about boards having meaningful conversations. I concur that this is a sorely lacking reality for nonprofit boards. The lack of meaningful conversations results I believe in decisions that have limited thought... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2022 at Nonprofit Board Crisis