Should a Board Member be Required to Give Financially?

He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.

Mark 4:21-24

The board chair winced visibly. As a contract grant writer, I went to the board meeting for a brief training on grants and foundations. I had just asked how many board members give financially to the organization.

Board giving can be a difficult and controversial subject. Some boards require the board members to give financially. Others ask that if the member can’t give personally, they must solicit their network for that total. Generally, if a board is diverse and reflects the community you serve, then it’s expected to have some who have graduated from the program as well as those who have networking influence on your board. Your board could be comprised of those that give of their talent those that give of their treasure, and those that give purely time on your board.

On the other hand, it’s clear where people’s priorities lie by reviewing their pocketbook and their calendar. A committed board member should be giving to the nonprofit, even if it is a small amount, to show their loyalty. And, some foundations find this as a marker of a healthy organization and so they ask that question on their grant applications, “What percentage of your board gives financially?” Which is why I was asking if the board members of this new nonprofit were committed enough to give of their finances.

What I find in this today’s verse is that both positions can be correct; You can require board members to give, or you can bypass that requirement. What is more important is that board members are sharing about the organization. They should be the leaders when it comes to talking about what the nonprofit is doing and bringing light wherever they go as followers of Christ. Don’t put the lamp under a bowl; Share about the nonprofit as it is appropriate, whether you give financially or not. Step two is a financial gift that you are being led to give or helping others to give financially. There is no one correct way.

There’s a bonus lesson in this passage: What you bring to the nonprofit—to the service that God has called you to do—will be measured back to you. Maybe not directly dollar for dollar, but you’ll see the effects of what you pour into the nonprofit and share about the nonprofit. For example, you may take a friend to lunch and talk about the nonprofit. You gave your time and attention to the nonprofit with your friend. Unknowingly, your friend starts giving $10 per month to the organization because of your light, the excitement, you shared. The measure has been used, and some!

Can you remember a time you heard about a nonprofit from a board member? What was it about that conversation that showed their excitement for the nonprofit? Share it on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Prayer: Jesus, I want to be useful and help Your kingdom grow. If that is through giving time, talent, or treasure to a nonprofit, lead the way! I’m right behind You.

Whether you give of your time, talent, or treasure begins with your core values. Join me next week on Thursday (2/4/21) at 5:30 pm PT/8:30 pm ET for a FREE webinar, Core Values Re-Imagined. Register here.

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

3 Questions Before Talking About a New Program

“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.

Mark 4:21-24

In the nonprofit sector, most tragedies and PR nightmares have roots in a misconception or something revealed before it was ready for public exposure. It’s like the metaphor of a candle. Without some preparation of wax, oil, and matches, an idea can’t spark light in others. Likewise, putting an idea in public before others have their candles ready to accept the light can be risky and damaging. To protect the small flame of an idea, program, or concept, consider when it is appropriate to expose it to the cold winds that it could find in the public square.

For example, a board is facing the challenge of starting a new program. The CEO sounds really excited about it, but the math isn’t lining up on how much this new program will cost. A board member walks to their car after another turbulent meeting, and a friend runs into you. Fresh from the meeting, they ask how things are, and you are honest: “We’ve just been though another meeting. While there’s exciting things happening, I’m just not sure of the way forward for this program.” Unbeknownst to you, your friend is friends with an employee at the organization. In fact, this friend was on the way to meet up for lunch. Guess what the topic of the lunch conversation is?

Where is it appropriate to talk about those items that could be sensitive to share with people? A board meeting, the staff meeting, and with people already involved (and not by permission of gossip). That is the time to battle out possible issues, ask about sustainability, and to prepare for the announcement.

I read a book Great at Work that helped me understand this concept more of fight and unite. In the book, Morten Hansen discusses how it can be okay for people to have differing opinions in a meeting. Consensus decision-making can be fatal to a great idea. Instead, during a meeting about the topic, air the items that may cause conflict to refine ideas and reveal roadblocks. After the brainstorming, the refinement (which can’t be done without a little heat!), and the selection, the team should unite. Meaning, they leave the meeting knowing that although they have stated their disagreement and were heard, ultimately, they support the decision the team will move forward on publicly. The team will be united in their forward motion.

This fight and unite concept negate the needs for meetings after the meeting, sent emails with a request to delete after reading, and rumors that may hurt the nonprofit seeking to reach its mission. As today’s verse says, what you give you’ll receive even more. Being respectful of the team’s decision means your decisions will be respected, too. If you talk about the nonprofit’s inner workings, what you talk about will come back around. You’ll hear yourself from someone else and you might not like what you hear!

So how do you know when it’s appropriate to share something about a nonprofit? Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Has it been approved by the board officially? (Fight and unite.)
  • If the CEO was in the room, would I hesitate to talk about it? (In other words, if it ended up on the top of tomorrow’s social media feed, what could be the repercussions?)
  • What is my motivation on sharing about the issue? What will be gained?

A bonus question to ask yourself is, do I have the time and energy to engage on this topic as a subject matter expert? You may not feel like the expert, but your role will position you to be viewed as the expert.

Board members, staff members, and volunteers are still human. They will want to connect with people and that is okay. Let your light shine, just don’t give away all your matches and spare wicks in the process.

Prayer: Lord, it’s hard to know the way forward sometimes. Guide me in my thoughts, actions, and words so that I can see your kingdom light up.

Consider a time you saw a team “fight and unite.” How was the outcome of that project? Successful or not? Share your thoughts on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

One final tip–your personal core values can become a stabilizing factor when you are launching a new program. Join me for a a one-hour FREE webinar this Thursday on January 21, 2021 at 5:30 pm PT to find your Core Values Re-Imagined. Learn more and register here.

Photo by Ai Nhan on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

When Do You Launch a New Nonprofit or a New Program?

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Mark 4:26-29

It’s the new year, when people think about new habits, new programs, and maybe new nonprofits.

Yet some of the longest-running nonprofits I’ve come in contact with started with someone already doing the work. The founder jumped in because they saw a way to help people and started working with the people needing help. Their passion was contagious. Then, others started taking up the mantel and joined in. Those first volunteers, donors, and friends became board members. And those board members of long ago knew when the time was right to make it a nonprofit, and not a second too soon. From there, whether the founder was around or not, the work continued.

Whether the founder, staff, or board, it’s important for a group to know when it is appropriate to move and when to step back and watch the nonprofit and its program(s) grow on its own. Sometimes an organization will sprout into a new program before the original had a chance to show if it will thrive or not. That first program has to be ready to run itself before the nonprofit ventures into a new program. Know when your program is ripe.

Today’s verse shows the power of giving space for things to grow and not getting caught up in the details. This is an important lesson for board members or founders, who feel the rush of starting something new, whether that is a new nonprofit, a new program, or a new capital campaign. The important take-away is to know when it is time to harvest and time to plant; One program at a time.

Board members need to know when programs or policies are ripe, by watching what is occurring. That does not mean they are fertilizing the soil, transplanting, or otherwise getting involved in the process. Board members are not involved in the day-to-day duties and needs of the nonprofit. Boards exist to note when it is time to harvest or plant new seed. In other words, the board is there not as primary volunteers and definitely not staff, but as policy creators and strategy advisors for the executive team.

Whether your organization began small or big, consider these key take-aways:

  • Don’t move into a new program until your other programs are self-sustaining.
  • If you are a board member, be cautious in getting involved in the day-to-day unless there are no staff.
  • Be brave enough to focus on one movement at a time, then harvest the rewards.

Here’s the lingering question: When do you know the time is right to harvest? Share your thoughts and stories on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

One final tip–your personal core values can become a stabilizing factor when you are launching a new program. Watch this 20-minute FREE webinar to find your Core Values Re-Imagined.

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Worth the Wait: How You Can Still Focus While Being Patient

Author’s Note: Thanks to Brian of Writing for Your Life, not only for publishing the blog post below, but also for his encouragement of spiritual authors. Be sure to check out the Writing for Your Life site. Below is an excerpt of the blog posted 12/30/20. You can read it in it’s entirety here.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.

Ecclesiastes 7:8

Have you ever been in a situation like this? You are at home, sitting on the couch. Then you get up and look out the window. Then, back to the couch. Maybe you’ll try to read a book; Maybe not. Set down the book. Look out the window. Wonder if the clock is going backward. Wonder if you should call.

All to see the installation truck come 30 minutes later than anticipated.

Recently I waited for the person to come and install our internet. If you’ve gone without internet, you’ll agree it’s much harder than you think. The reason for the delay was legit, but it tested my patience. I hope I displayed more patience in that situation than in others. If I did have more patience, then it came from one activity: writing. Displaying patience while writing is like waiting for internet when you really need it.

Plenty of classes and seminars exist to help discover the publishing and writing industry (and most of the great ones are here on this site). Degrees exist to help hone the craft. Groups provide accountability and encouragement. But where is the lesson on how to be patient and not stalk publishers? I would like to see that checklist, please!

To be patient means to be active while waiting. I learned that from my mother who is a saint and my picture of perfect patience. She isn’t lazy, but she isn’t idle either. She builds, plans, shapes; And then she sees the flowers bloom, or the stew reach perfection, or the relationship strengthened.

I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of patience in other people, too. As a writer, many have gone before us with stories of rejections, years passing in waiting, and the forever string of edits and requests. And the conclusion of their story is the contract, the agent, the book. It is a picture of actively waiting.

Years ago, at a conference, I found out that the Hebrew language has several different words for waiting. For example, Psalms 27:14 says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” The “wait” in this verse means, “to bind together (by twisting)” in Hebrew. That reminds me of my mom. Always busy, always patient; Creating a tapestry by twisting and building with focused energy. Patience pays off when idle hands are kept busy; And more than busy—focused on the goal. Actively waiting is biblical and necessary in patience, and in writing.

Another passage helped me understand the value of actively waiting and staying focused on my writing. Psalm 37:7a, which says, “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him….” This “wait” denotes whirling. It is a different word from Psalms 27 but still translated as “wait” in English. Both words lead us to think about spinning and creating. God’s proactive waiting takes work, time, and creativity.

And it’s not just patience that a writer needs to successfully wait. The element of focus must also be present.

Can I share with you how I know writing has increased my focused patience while I was waiting? It’s a ten-year long story….

Read the rest of this blog and my own personal story of patience here.

Photo by Juliet Furst on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.