Intro to Board Governance



[Patrick Kirby] Hello, everybody, it’s Patrick Kirby here from do good university. And we’re going to talk about something very exciting today. Board Governance. I know what you’re thinking, I know what you’re thinking Board Governance 101, this couldn’t be the most, there couldn’t possibly be a more boring subject to learn about, and yet, one of the critical pieces to a functioning nonprofit on how they work and I know enough to be dangerous, but that’s not good enough for do the university. No, we’re going to bring experts into the field. And so my very good friend, Susan Fugli, is going to be here to help us. She was the thank you so much for helping us learn about board governance.

[Susan Fugli] It’s my great pleasure. Patrick’s gonna be fun. Yes, it is.

[Patrick Kirby] I’m very excited. So Susan, let me get a little bit of background on you sort of a high level bio on who you are, and why you are the expert on board governance, one on one

[Susan Fugli] and why I think this is interesting.

[Patrick Kirby] Yes, there’s another where’s the big question? Very true. Yes, she likes policies and bylaws. This doesn’t make any sense to anybody. Dang it. No,

[Susan Fugli] but but it will, it will trust me. So I have spent my entire career in the not for profit world. So I have an expert. Yes. So I have had multiple and increasing responsibilities. And my last position was an 18 year executive director position for not for profit. So you get to see a lot the dirty side the behind the scenes. And you report to a board. Yeah. Which is very, it’s not easy. This is. Sometimes it’s really a nuisance. Yeah, it is. And everybody knows that. We all talk about it out loud Know why? This is why we’re here. Yeah, let me tell you, yeah, it can be difficult, because it’s a whole lot of people with a whole lot of ideas who want to be in charge. So during those 18 years, in particular, our board went through some major revisions. In the process, I learned so much. And what I learned is, there is absolute magic, in the right kind of governance model.

[Patrick Kirby] And I don’t think a lot of people think about governance as a tactic to use the board, right? We’re worried about power. And when people are going to show up to a board meeting, who the right people are for the board, how much they’re going to fundraise for. And really when you think about it, that the the purpose of a board is really something that you need to think about the mission, you need to think about, like how do you do the things that make a board? functional? Is not the sexy sort of fun stuff all the time. But it’s absolutely critical to a successful organization. Would you not agree?

[Susan Fugli] Absolutely. It’s also though, a whole lot more fun when it’s done. Right? Fun. I said, fun. It can really be enjoyable to serve on a board when the right things are being done. Yeah. When you’re on a board that just reports on their reports. You’re not having much fun.

[Patrick Kirby]  You’re probably nodding out there. I have a board that reports in the reports and stuff, right? Yes. So so this is wonderful. And this is kind of the intro to the course. And this is what we’re going to talk about, it’s not going to be droning on forever. The part of these are really, really 10-15 minutes, sort of videos of us chatting about certain topics, a diving into some materials and setting some checklists and some things to work on as part of your board, as part of this course. Is Board Governance 101 course. Right. So let’s talk a little bit about the three topics. The three main topics we’re going to explore in this course itself is one, the real role of the board kind of give us a highlight on the real role of the board, without spoiling it, because you have to take the class to high level but the real role of the board that’s important, right? Yes. Why?

[Susan Fugli] Well, why is it important? It’s important because if the board doesn’t understand its real, the real role easy for me to say. It defaults to what it believes is the role which is dinking in operations, the conversations about what size trophy they’ll be awarded at the chili cook off the the verbiage on a sponsorship list of things that you’re going out into the field, the little things that chip away at your belief that your board is doing the right things. The role, not the real role, the right role. So the role of the board, the CIO, what they should be doing and what they shouldn’t be doing. essentially you’re giving a late you’re laying out the the what is typically Good. Now caveat to all of this, right? Yes, is that this is based on the Carver policy governance model. That is correct. There are alternative ways to think about This but the general best practice rule. And the most organized boards across the world are Carver policy. gov model governance model. So not to say that we’re taking every thing about it, but it’s a lot of this conversation is going to be based on that particular model, right?

[Patrick Kirby]  Yes, roles, responsibilities, etc. So the the second lesson that we’re going to talk about in this course, is using your mission as your true north. Talk to me about this, right, because we talk about mission all the time. But your true north that the mission is the beginning and end of everything an organization is about, what do we do with it? We put it on brochures, yeah. And then we go on and do other stuff. Yeah. And we only loosely refer to it. There is magic in using the mission as an operating tool. And that’s one of the most fun, and I think brilliant parts of john Carver’s model.

It’s not just a talking point, it is your roadmap to how an organization can be successful. Absolutely. So building on that you’ve got the real role of the board, we’ve got using your mission as a thing. So using the governance policy as the building blocks of your organization, you’ve talked about the magic. Now you talk about the alchemy, right? So talk to us about using the building blocks as an essential piece because this is lesson number three, this ties everything together, right? So what about that is important?

[Susan Fugli] Okay. When when I start working with new clients, one of the things I most often do, is asked to assess their documents. And that’s where people think I’m out of my mind. But by reading articles of incorporation, bylaws, policies, if there are any, and often there are not. And looking at agendas and minutes from meetings, I can give an organization a very accurate rundown of how the organization is functioning, and why it isn’t functioning and precisely what’s going on. Interesting. So even if they never use me as a consultant, I hand them a document that gives them the roadmap.

[Patrick Kirby] And we’re going to talk exactly what that roadmap looks like in Lesson number three. So you’ve got all these pieces together. And that will give you a very good one on one, not extraordinarily complicated, we’re not going to be using sort of big terms, we’re going to have a very good conversational style right here where we ask questions and sort of walk through some of these processes. It’s not going to be a long time, we all know that everybody has the attention span of NATS and that’s totally okay. And especially if this is the first time you’re talking about Board Governance as a as a nonprofit institution, or as a fundraiser or whatever, or a development director or an executive director, this might be the first time you come across something like the importance of using board governance. And so we’re going to take our time. We’re gonna have fun with this. And I am ecstatic to have an expert in the field helping us here at Duke University, explore board governance. 101 you’re ready to get started. Absolutely. Let’s go. Alright, so we’ll see you here in Lesson number one.


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