I'm attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City of Nonprofit Board Governance where academics and consultants gather to discuss progress on the latest research focused on nonprofit boards. I am here with colleagues from the Alliance for Nonprofit Management and have presented the findings to date from a study members of the Governance Affinity Group have collected on Board Chairs preparation and role. More about that in the future.
Meanwhile, at one session reflecting in part on a finding from our Chair study about how only 50% of those who serve as board chairs have even looked for information about being a chair or anything related to nonprofit governing and one of the session participant posed the question: what might be the "ice cream" that would attract chairs or board members to want to learn more -- effectively, to be the best they can be. Ice cream is of course representative of the concept of incentive or carrot as it appears clear that sticks (what the IRS poses) is not incentive enough for board members and chairs to prepare for their jobs. It is of course possible that board chairs figure that given the short period they have to serve (usually a year) and pretty lean duties if one does the minimum (maybe manage 12 meetings in a year) there just might not be a there-there to provide enough reason to prepare. But what if.....
Would nonprofit boards perform differently and possibly better if their chairs were prepared for their position? Would chairs perform differently and possibly better if they themselves prepared?
Much to learn but a good place for study and dialog.