How are We Doing?: A 1-hour Guide to Evaluating Your Performance as a Nonprofit Board
Ah, simplicity.That?s not a word usually voiced in the same breath as ?board evaluation.? Or conciseness ? and clarity ? and cogency.Yet all four aptly describe Gayle Gifford?s book, How Are We Doing: A 1-Hour Guide to Evaluating Your Performance as a Nonprofit Board. Until now, almost all books dealing with board evaluation have had an air of unreality about them. The perplexing graphs, the matrix boxes, the overlong questionnaires. It took only a thumbing through to render a judgment: "My board?s going to use this? Get real!"Enter Gayle Gifford. Inhale the fresh air. See the ground break. Watch the clutter clear.Gifford has pioneered an elegantly simple and enjoyable ? yes, enjoyable ? way for nonprofit boards to evaluate and improve its overall performance.It all comes down to answering a host of straightforward questions ? questions that, as Graham Greene would say, get to "the heart of the matter." Here is a sampling:-Have we set a goal for the good we want to do?-How well do we know our community?s needs?-Do we know if our programs are having an impact?-Do we ask the right financial questions?-Do we govern and resist the temptation to manage?-Do we recruit the board members we need?-Have we decided the board?s role in fundraising?It doesn?t matter whether the setting is formal, as in a special board meeting, or casual ? the chairperson?s living room. It doesn?t matter whether you have 75 board members or seven.It doesn't matter whether yours is an established institution or a grassroots start-tup. All that matters is that the questions are answered candidly and the responses discussed. It doesn?t get any easier than that.It?s all so refreshing ? the thought of an invigorating discussion taking place, without pretense or pedantry, during which board members reflect on their job, gain a fuller understanding of their organization, explore their strengths and shortcomings, grow more cohesive, sense new potential ? and come away genuinely energized by the process ? and far better equipped to govern.Gifford has done nothing less than transform the way boards will evaluate themselves from this day forward.Oh, the simplicity of it all.
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A PERSONAL NOTE ON USING THIS BOOK
Making Our Community Better
Does our vision matter?
Have we set a goal for the good we can do?
How well do we know our communitys needs?
Do shared values guide our practices?
Are we prepared to respond to a changing world?
Do we know if our programs are having an impact?
Becoming Good Stewards
What kind of stewards are we?
Is our organization trustworthy and worthy
Have we hired the best CEO for the job?
Do we regularly evaluate our CEO?
Have we given our CEO the necessary support?
Is our relationship with staff honest collegial
Do we think and act strategically?
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