Non-profit board responsibility and collective impact in Nova Scotia

In the early hours tomorrow I start my position on the Board of Easter Seals Nova Scotia. As I have previously mentioned  it is an organization very dear to my heart.  Reading tonight I came across a very good reminder of the role of board members, especially those working ion the non-profit sector; and those concerned with broader collective impact. Kris Putnam-Walkerly  reminds us that “It’s (board membership)  about being a good steward of resources and sharing responsibility for the foundation’s impact.”

Putnam-Walkerly identifies and illustrates six key questions members of a board should ask the CEO to break from routine and focus limited time on the big picture. From experience, not enough time is allocated to the following six questions by most boards:

1. How does this fit within our strategy?
2. What’s our progress on our strategic plan?
3. How much time do staff spend preparing for board meetings and what does that cost?
4. What can we do to reduce the cycle time of grantmaking?
5. Are we taking enough risks?
6. How can we be more helpful to you?

With so much going on in the province right now it would be prudent to add a seventh question:

7. What is our collective impact?

Asking such a question ensures the CEO and board are focussed on the operational environment, building mutually beneficial strategic partnerships, positioning itself for changes in the marketplace, marketing its value added, and contributing to the larger question of sustained economic growth in all areas of the province for all residents.

As with most things in life, this article popped up at a perfect time. Timing is everything.

Putnam-Walkerly’s article from Forbes follows:

6 Questions A Foundation Board Should Ask Its CEO

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