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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
The situation may actually be worse than it appears. First, higher education was in a significantly weakened state before the Covid-19 crisis. Second, despite nine consecutive years of enrollment decline and large numbers of mergers and closures, the leadership of... Continue reading
Posted 2 hours ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
In this week's missive by Dr. Fram, cultural intelligence is his focus. As he notes: "There are many ways to assess the balance of capabilities on nonprofit board board members. EDs and board chairs are generally familiar with the implications... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Values and optics are perhaps two variables strongly influence "commitments to diversity. That said, check-out how even intentions may (are) not enough to succeed with the change of hearts that motivate a desire for a diverse board. Here's the link... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
As I have said multiple times before, doing no harm should in my opinion be the low bar of a value owned and practiced by all nonprofits. I know of course this is singularly my belief as there are indeed... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
In 1979 United Way was my first employer when I started my career as a nonprofit organizational development consultant. The exec had some money and wanted to find a way to provide services to non-United Way nonprofits beyond grants. It... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Dr. Fram shared his thoughts on what I would call "flags" that may be useful for a board to consider. The theme is the sometimes delicate balance of authority held by the two parties: board and ceo. I must admit... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I'm not 100% certain what to make of the following article that attributes emojis to nonprofit board members - kind of "type-casting" members. Type-casting board members is in itself an interesting exercise. I actually am not fond of that effort... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2021 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I am confident that the feelings and experiences cited in the following American article are anything but unique to nonprofit Execs. I am fairly certain that many of the recommendations have been proposed. That said it is worthy of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2021 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The title of this Reno Gazette piece is clever and the thoughts are reasonably well laid out. Ornaments are for holidays, not nonprofit boards | Rachel Gattuso Rachel Gattuso This opinion column was submitted by Rachel Gattuso, APR, founder and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2021 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Given the US' current political situation, it is probably appropriate to consider the subject of fraud as we begin 2021. And, while Dr. Fram notes sources that indicate that fraud is indeed a "thing" worthy of focus, I can only... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2021 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
The San Diego-area Regional Taskforce on the Homeless is splitting up it's group of advisors/partners to create a nonprofit that will have a governing body to address fiduciary duties and another body that will, advise. If just paying attention to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I fully agree with Dr. Fram's descriptions of "boardroom elephants" in the following submission. The actions and "be sures" may require cultural shifts within the board and there lays the answer to many of the "be sures" offered by Dr.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
While I can't explain why the first reporting on this matter came from the British press, the story is an American one when essentially failure breeds unfair competition and the need by the Boy Scouts to attempt to poach from... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
John the Baptist, according to biblical lore, was an itinerant preacher/evangelist who was chosen to start the ball rolling in recognizing Jesus Christ as the guy some were waiting for to lead the Jews into salvation. John the Baptist, again... Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Conflict of interest or just good business? Here's a paragraph I found in a CSQ Magazine article offering advice to C-suite philanthropists: When you join a board, make a conscious effort to get to know your fellow board members. You... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Here's an interesting list of financial-specific "red flags" that I believe to be helpful for nonprofit board members to keep at their fingers - could even be put in the board manual. The list is part of an article published... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
I've covered the subject of nonprofits being taxed over many years. When cities face financially difficult times, the subject re-enters the sphere even more so as the scramble to generate more town funds is thought to be necessary by tax... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
If you haven't thought much about the subject, cannabis (aka weed) is a BOOMING business in now quite a number of states. The states have made cannabis sales legal. The federal government has not. That sales are illegal according to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
In the world of hot buttons that irritate me (and yes, there are far too many) but in this case, about nonprofit boards, the expectation or demand that a primary responsibility and even duty that boards are about raising money... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
For your "amusement" from the Human Services Council in NYC: Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
Jane, thanks as always and I'll keep an eye out. I am particularly hot on subsidiaries these days - a "well-heeled" mission related nonprofit takes on the full fiduciary ownership of another nonprofit while leaving the other nonprofit with its exec and board and providing all the back-office, fundraising and other oversight. It's a win-win for both has produced a helpful instructional for boards whose nonprofit is facing insolvency (aka going out of business). Here's some important takeaways: Creditors may not be the first if only consideration in terms of asset distribution: Under well-established New York... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
From the Southern Illinoisan: "the fiscal challenges started after the city passed the building to the nonprofit group. They described former members on the center’s board as ambitious, but not versed enough in the nonprofit and business sectors to successfully... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis
There is a common story that there are nonprofit boards and their CEOs who don't get along. Not getting along is a real possibility although the reality of this tension is frequently not anywhere near what goes on in the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2020 at Nonprofit Board Crisis