Why Non-Profits Need Networks, Not Boards

As we continue to do Strategic Doing 365, our brand of enterprise growth planning using the Agile Canvas, we often hear non-profits complain about their boards. Most people who do this work have long, reluctantly but sincerely, refer to "dysfunctional non-profit boards" as redundancy. 

We need to have new conversations about what non-profits need for their growth.

They need to grow vibrant and dynamic networks of resources for their strategic initiatives including resources related to the themes of fund and friend raising, storytelling, programmatic innovation, social entrepreneurship and community building. We're talking about resources like talents, time, endowments, monetary donations and participation in strategic initiatives.

These networks do not have the bizarre constraints of a finite number of "seats." They grow as the organization grows, and must in order for the organization to grow.

The resource network can on some defined basis elect a core team of expert specialists to manage hiring, supporting and collaborating with the executive director. This core team would include people with specialized and donated expertise in finance, law, human resources, marketing, fundraising, technology and subject matter expertise relevant to the organization's focus. The executive director and leadership team is trusted and supported by this core team to take ultimate responsibility for the organization.

This is a fresh and sustainable model.