Wednesday, June 4, 2008

YNPN SD and Board Development

Every group has a different approach to starting up their nonprofit based on mission, support, volunteers, personalities, and so on. One of the hardest pieces can be setting up the foundation for the nonprofit, or the infrastructure. Volunteers are usually pretty interested in the programming...after all that is usually the way that we express our missions. We still need to infrastructure to make it all run smoothly though.

This is a big part of why I went to graduate school for Nonprofit Management. I wanted to learn how to do this well. That experience along with my board membership at YNPN Denver and other governing roles has provided me with a framework to share with YNPN San Diego.

In the last two months we have really made a lot of head way in setting up structure at YNPN San Diego. We have recruited YNPN San Diego general members, event planning committee members, and now board members. While we are not technically a board of directors until we have LLC or incorporation status, we will certainly operate like one. We will create a board book with processes, procedures, and policies; we will manage subcommittees; we will serve as the governance and fiscal managers of the organization; and much more! We will look at fiscal sponsorship and independent 501c3 status; we will set ethical guidelines and inclusiveness policies; the list goes on...

One of the challenges I have faced in this is recruiting board members...the truth is that we have had an ENORMOUS amount of interest and it has been hard to keep up! It's a good problem to have certainly and we must balance our capacity with our credibility and responsibility to respond to our members.

Initially, I and other board members set up follow up calls with interested board members after their applications and resumes were submitted. As more people demonstrate their interest in the board, the more internal communications and calls there are. Anyone who has tried to schedule meetings knows just how time-consuming this piece can be. So, we have had to revise our strategy to set up monthly calls and as we continue to grow we will probably have to revise it again. This is just an example of growth and flexibility that occurs at a startup nonprofit.

We have to pace ourselves as a team so that we don't burnout (and we all know what that looks like) and track our efforts. It takes extra time for all of this and it is important that we have a board who recognizes the amount of effort that will go into the first year of YNPN San Diego.

I feel confident that we do and will have an excellent team committed to YNPN San Diego's mission and development. I am so excited about our first board meeting on June 17th, to begin to discuss these issues. I hope to begin to explore the vision and goals of the group as well as gain some insight into managing board development. Thanks so everyone for your patience while we continue to work as a 100% volunteer-run organization and meet the needs of emerging leaders in the nonprofit community!

Please share with me questions, thoughts, or stories you have about board development. I look forward to hearing from you!

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