One issue that has always been a focus of discussion in the nonprofit sector is how to go about attracting the correct partnership of minds, particularly as it relates to board members. Getting this combination to operate efficiently can be a real challenge, not least of which when times are difficult. The issues under discussion have included salary for board members, the operational function that boards should exercise, and the adversity of members to risk. These issues have often been the cause of controversy.
Gaining some insight
According to Dennis C. Miller, President of Dennis C. Miller and associates and author of the new book entitled "The Nonprofit Board Therapist", paying board members beyond covering operational expenses will detract from the overall efficiency of the organization in question. He feels that boards should be more purposefully focused on assisting the organization in achieving its fundraising objectives so that the relevant vision and goals can be met more effectively. When a nonprofit consistently fails to operate at it maximum potential, Miller feels that it's a failure on the part of the board and the CEO. Dennis Miller feels that a new type of board member is necessary for a new era...one that is more open minded to new and innovative avenues of fundraising and operational strategies.
The new role of the nonprofit CEOMiller goes on to say that the role of the nonprofit CEO in the current economic and technological climate is to ensure that the potential of board members is fully reached as it relates to their impact on the organization. This involves engaging them in discussion, seeking their ideas and asking pertinent questions. The most suitable scenario is where the CEO and board member operate as partners from a leadership point of view. A board needs to be highly enthusiastic and motivated, be willing to examine itself and it's performance, and be actively and personally involved in fundraising, according to Miller.