Sustainability among nonprofit organizations
Sustainability is a popular topic among nonprofit organizations. What exactly is it? How is it achieved? Is it only about financial resiliency? Some argue not.
For those nonprofit organizations interested in exploring more deeply, here are a few resources:
- A small, but insightful book takes you on a journey to learn more deeply about those factors that are essential to real organizational sustainability. A copy of Focus on Sustainability by Dennis McMillian of The Foraker Group is available for those interested. Please contact Susan at 525-8863 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jeanne Bell, CEO of CompassPoint, has an article titled Beyond Financial Oversight: Expanding the Boardís Role in the Pursuit of Sustainability. It is available at www.compasspoint.org or on the Learning Centerís webpage under Resources, Article/Book/DVDís.
These tools/forms/templates include those referenced during the workshops as well as others that have been shared and/or requested by specific organizations that could also help others. Please feel free to download these materials and adjust and use them liberally within your organization(s) as appropriate.
Best Practices for Boards
This link will take you to a document that is chock full of templates and information to use with your board, including sample policies, info on recruitment, role of board vs. the ED, etc.
From Seattle University's Not-for-Profit Leadership Program:
- Twelve Best Practices of Highly Performing Boards (pdf)
- Example of an Effective Board Job Description (pdf)
- Questions to Ask Before Joining a Board (pdf)
- Role of Board Executive Staff (pdf)
- Ten Basic Responsibilites of Nonprofit Boards (pdf)
- Consent Agenda FAQ (pdf)
- Sample Consent Agenda (pdf)
- Stages of Board Development (pdf)
- Brene Brown TED Talk on vulnerability, where she asserts that our most fundamental need in life is to belong, to feel connected.
- Dan Pallotta TED Talk about nonprofit overhead
Sample Board Assessments:
More resources related to Board Assessment:
Organizational Capacity Building Tool
Social Venture Partners in Seattle shares a tool that helps nonprofit organizations assess their current organizational capacity, prioritize and guide their planning. Because it is a multi-tiered spreadsheet, we're unable to provide it as a simple link. To access it, go to:
- "About Us"
- "SVP Model"
- Read the narrative until you get to the reference: SVP Organizational Capacity-Building Tool and "click" to open the tool.
- Sherwood Trust Capacity Assessment Guide (pdf)
Similar to SVP's tool, Sherwood Trust has their version of a Capacity Assessment Guide that will not only provide insights into what non profits need for capacity building but also serves as a checklist for "best practices".
- Board Matrix (pdf)
As you recruit and seek out board skills, use this tool to help frame both the discussion and the need for board expertise.
- Board Member Contract Sample (pdf)
At the April session, the idea of a "contract" was mentioned to highlight individual board member responsibilities as well as outline expectations for board members. This document was shared by an organization currently using this to create clear accountabilities.
Conflict of Interest Samples
In discussing "key" policies, we are attaching two sample policies that you should feel free to review and adapt for your organization. We also have an Annual Disclosure Statement that should be read and signed by all members of your Board.
- Working with a Consultant (pdf)
This document addresses key questions concerning how best to work with a consultant as presented in the September 2010 session.
- Use External Consultants When (pdf)
A resource for those needing to use consultants from June's panel discussion.
Legal and Regulatory
This Nonprofit Checklist from WAACO (Washington Attorneys Assisting Community Organizations) is an excellent resource for helping all nonprofits, regardless of size, understand their common legal obligations. Their website is www.waaco.org .
Planning & Strategy
Here are sample documents for the suite of inter-connected plans reviewed by Jan McGowan in the September and October 2010 sessions at the Learning Center.
- Strategic Planning: Conditions for Success (pdf)
How do you know whether your nonprofit organization is ready for planning? Here is a list of conditions that should be present prior to an organization initiating a strategic planning effort.
Collaborative Agreement (pdf) from Kay Sohl of Kay Sohl Consulting.
Executive Director Evaluation form
Executive Director Sample Position Profile
- ED Sample Position Profile (xls)-
Every Board should be providing performance feedback for their ED/CEO. This excellent tool highlights a Position Profile for and Executive Director while integrating that with Core Accountabilities and Goals/Objectives to measure and assess ED performance.