Category: Board Development

6 Elements of an Effective Nonprofit

By on July 14, 2015 under Board Development, Evaluation & Measurement, Strategy & Planning

credit: whitewall buick / photo from Flickr

credit: whitewall buick / photo from Flickr

Earlier this year, Greenlights published On the Verge, an assessment of the Central Texas nonprofit sector. We detailed the various staff and board sizes, budget ranges and mission areas of our region’s nonprofit organizations, along with some calls to action for individual organizations and the sector as a whole. As part of that research, we investigated nonprofit frameworks and built out a structure that organizations of any size or mission could use to understand its capacity and prioritize needs to become more effective in its work.

We recognize that every nonprofit is (and should be) different from its peers in a host of ways. Yet, in the same way that all houses begin with the basic elements: a strong foundation, thoughtful framing, a blueprint for the layout of rooms and wiring, and the goal of housing a family, an effective nonprofit also needs a basic framework around which to live out its mission.

Thus, we have developed an effectiveness framework to call out the specific structural elements that all nonprofits need to have in place, regardless of mission or scope: (continue reading…)

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Don’t hold back: My experience as an Interim Executive Director

By on July 16, 2014 under Board Development, Collaboration, Leadership, Strategy & Planning

Guest blog post by  David C. Smith, a member of Greenlights’ pool of Interim Executive Directors.

Image credit:

Image credit:; Franz Ferdinand

How many times have you served on a board, committee, or staff and wanted to share what you thought could be a helpful suggestion or idea, but held back for “political” reasons?  I have certainly done this: I didn’t want to sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about, I avoided interfering with someone else’s area/turf, or I didn’t want to publicly disagree with someone whose support I needed…it’s always easy to find reasons to hold back.  Even though the cost of speaking up is usually negligible, and the benefits of sharing your insight and ideas can be invaluable.

The instinct to hold back for those reasons fades during a time of organizational transition, as surfacing tensions and differing points of view becomes necessary to moving the organization to its next phase of stability. Almost by definition, an organization is going through a time of transition when they are searching for a new Executive Director.

(continue reading…)

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Finding the right board for you

By on May 13, 2014 under Board Development

Image from

Image from

Last month, one of my coworkers shared 3 tips for new board members and with our annual Board Summit quickly approaching (June 12), I was inspired by her post to take a few steps back in the process. How do you find the right nonprofit board for you? Forbes magazine contributor, Kerry Hannon, wrote a post in July 2013 on her process of joining a new nonprofit board after her previous board terms ended.  She interviewed the president of Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group who shared the following five tips for finding the right board for you: (continue reading…)

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3 Tips for the First Time Board Member

By on April 10, 2014 under Board Development, Volunteerism

I recently joined the board of an all-volunteer organization. I was so excited to share my time and talents as I loved the mission of the organization and was ready to dive in and share my time and talents to advance the cause.  With Board Summit coming up in June, I thought I would share some tips for anyone thinking of taking the plunge and joining a board for the first time. (continue reading…)

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Ask Alanna: Serving on a Board

By on February 04, 2014 under Board Development, Volunteerism

Hi, I’m Alanna — Greenlights’ Services Coordinator. As a resource for nonprofit solutions, Dear_Alannawe receive daily questions from performing staff evaluations to grant writer referrals. This month I’m sharing feedback on getting more involved with the nonprofit sector and joining a board as we prepare for our upcoming Board Summit event on June 12.

I have worked with for-profits for twenty years but would like to get more involved with local nonprofits. I would love to help animals or underprivileged kids. I also have a lot of experience with event planning so I might be interested in serving on a board or gala committee. Does Greenlights have volunteer opportunities? If not, what are some ways I can get involved in the nonprofit sector and share my expertise? (continue reading…)

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