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* This article was originally written as a thought piece for participants in Vantage Point’s Governance Lab. It has been updated for our blog.

Psst. Board member.

Yes, you. Let’s be frank for a moment, shall we?

Being a board member isn’t easy. It demands time you don’t have to be involved in stuff that feels an awful lot like work, and, therefore, not fun. Oh, the cause is easy enough to get behind and be supportive of, but there are only so many hours in the day.

Besides, the ED seems to know what they’re doing. You seem to be making budget numbers. And the last time you asked for more...

Are you a leader who can let go?

Writing, rewriting and editing this book with a team of knowledge philanthropists has completely tested my ability to “let go.” I’ve had to have a willingness to be vulnerable, and an openness to listen to criticism I actually didn’t really want to hear. All in a quest for excellence. The following is an excerpt from The Abundant Not-for-Profit that highlights the importance of letting go:

The executive director has to be able to delegate effectively in order to build a team of knowledge philanthropists. How does an executive director involve others in getting...

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In a people lens culture, strong cultural fit is a key element in the recruitment process for salaried employees. It is as important as skills, competencies and experience. However, assessing cultural fit can be more difficult than task-oriented performance. Here are some processes to consider adopting (if you’re not already):

Recruitment Process:

 ·         Include your mission, vision, values and beliefs in the role description. Include a job requirement such as:  Clearly understands the mission and demonstrates the values of the organization.

·         Ask questions in the interview process to find out how...

Think of all the people that work to deliver your mission.

Did your salaried employees come to mind first and foremost? Or did you also visualize your board members and knowledge philanthropists? Did you see one integrated talent team?

Here’s an excerpt from our upcoming book The Abundant Not-for-Profit that I’d like to share with you. It captures the essence of working together as one talent team:

Working together

In people lens organizations everyone works together as one team.

The people who have worked at Vantage Point, and many people profiled in this book, have experienced the effect of...

In my experience, absolutely.

In the recent post Are Volunteers actually Mythical Creatures? Colleen Kelly debunks the myth that volunteers are not accountable. In Monday’s Abundant Not-for-Profit webinar we raised this myth again, and 38% of participants said in their experience volunteers are not accountable. One webinar participant who did not buy into this myth shared this insight: “I believe that volunteers are accountable, but in my experience they are not held accountable”.

I lead a team of more than 40 volunteers (knowledge philanthropists) who each hold significant responsibility. If...

If you’ve ever attended a board governance learning opportunity with Vantage Point you’re probably familiar with the “hats” analogy.

Board members are often called on to wear many “hats” in an organization. This can result in some murky territory when it comes to who is accountable to whom.

So, which hat when?

 When board members are governing the organization they wear their “board hat”. They are accountable to the Chair of the Board and the community. On the other hand, when they take an operational role, it’s important they take off their “board hat” and put on a different one. In this new...

Have you ever left a workshop energized by new ideas, and returned to the office only to be immediately consumed with business as usual? Do you ever wonder why your board members or leadership team aren’t equally excited about your new suggestions and ideas? 

If so, you’re not alone. 

At Vantage Point, we’re offering an increasing number of shared learning opportunities for executives, board members and leadership staff to attend together. At the end of most of our Governance Lab sessions I’ll see a few executive directors and board members linger in the training room, deeply engaged in...

Successful leaders don’t focus on their own brilliance; they seek out and cultivate brilliance from those around them. Successful leaders don’t believe they have all the right expertise and answers; they proactively invite a variety of perspectives so they can make the best decisions.

I’m paraphrasing the words of Fierce, Inc. President & CEO Halley Bock, as she spoke to a crowd of 135 not-for-profit leaders at Vantage Point’s Leaders Forum. The event focused on personal leadership and the importance of conversations in building strong relationships.

The message above caused me to wonder...

Recent articles on Bill C-399: The Volunteer Tax Credit, have provoked an old debate on volunteerism and altruism. For example, Charity Village posed this question to its readers in the article NDP MP proposes tax credit for volunteersDoes it make sense for taxpayers to pay for volunteerism or does volunteerism itself imply an altruistic, non-monetary activity that needs no material reward? 

Volunteerism is not altruistic. There, I said it.

People have motivations for volunteering. They are unique to each individual and come in the form of a desire to socialize; learn something new; gain a...


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