Board members’ workshop draws local groups of all types, sizes

There were board members from some of the smallest nonprofit organizations in the area (Seeds of Hope from Clyde and the Glasco Senior Center) to some of the largest (Cloud County Community College Foundation and CloudCorp). They also ranged from some of the oldest organizations (the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia) to some of the newest (Freedom Board Inc.).

Together, more than 50 individuals representing some 25 local nonprofit groups came to a Wednesday evening session to learn more about their volunteer jobs serving on boards of directors.

The presenter was John Mize, a longtime Salina attorney who wrote a how-to guide titled “The Eight Principles of Effective Governance: A Handbook for Directors of Nonprofit Organizations.”

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Mize said his interest in the topic “started from serving on a dysfunctional board. “These were very smart people, but I would come home after a meeting and think, ‘Why is this like this?’ ”

Seeking an answer to that question eventually led him to Regis University, where in 2005 he received a master’s degree in nonprofit management. He wrote the handbook as his master’s project.

Each participant Wednesday evening received a copy of the handbook — packed with simple checklists and written in easy-to-understand language — and Mize worked through the principles with stories from his own experience as a governing board member and leader in many local and state-wide nonprofit professional, health care, civic and educational organizations.

“There’s no cookie-cutter approach,” he said. “Every community and every organization is different. But there are basic principles — and common sense — that apply no matter what your size or complexity.”

Mize’s eight principles are:

  1. Effective directors focus on improving the constituency served by the organization.
  2. Effective directors are dedicated to defining and fulfilling the missing and vision of the organization
  3. Effective directors understand the legal limitations placed on the organization because of being tax exempt.
  4. Effective directors understand the legal duties required of them and are committed to compliance.
  5. Effective directors have good processes for selecting themselves, for organizing themselves to fulfill their responsibilities and for self-monitoring their performance.
  6. Effective directors define the expectations for and have sound processes for hiring, evaluating and compensating the chief executive officer of the organization.
  7. Effective directors understand governing and managing are complementary but separate functions.
  8. Effective directors are servant-leaders of the organization.

The workshop was co-sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Community Foundation for Cloud County.

The people who had registered in advance for the workshop were entered in a drawing for one of three $500 donations from the Community Foundation to a charity of their choice.

The three winners, and their charities, were:

  • Paul Rimovsky — POW Camp Concordia
  • Charlotte Lawrence — Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas
  • Virginia Hoover — Love Inc. of Ottawa County


3 thoughts on “Board members’ workshop draws local groups of all types, sizes

  • November 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I am inspired to know that board members of small non-profits take an active interest in fine-tuning skills to strengthen the effectiveness of a board of directors.
    Hats off to you who stepped beyond the responsibilities of your “day” job to take this training.
    We can never learn too much!

  • November 2, 2012 at 9:24 am

    What a great way to come together in the interests of many local communities, and to work from the principles designed by Attorney Mize. Servant leadership is the Gospel mandate and cannot go wrong especially when the community is “of the same mind and heart. “

  • October 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I am grateful that the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia was one of the sponsors of this very significant board educational process. Hats off to the Community Foundation for Cloud County, too.. The gift of the handbook written by Mr. Mize will serve as a resource for all who attended. I hope this kind of workshop can happen again! Thank you to all to envisioned it and helped it happen. It is inspiring to see from the principles stated by Mr. Mize that “Servant-leadership” is not limited to religiously affiliated organizations. It is a privilege of all board members.

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