It can be easy to find volunteers, but not for a Board or committee position.
Every non-profit has issues, some handle them better than others.
How many times do you hear the comment “I am having trouble maintaining/controlling my Board of Directors” or “I am having trouble filling my Board positions for my AGM”? These are issues that have been around for a long time. Positions are getting harder to fill because of rules and regulations that have to be navigated.
It is a shame that in many communities, the ‘movers and shakers’ are ‘flogged to death’ and there are no local training programs to improve the situation.
The funding of non-profits is arguably the biggest nagging issue. There are many reasons for this including poor fundraising experience amongst the Board members and not understanding the full extent of fundraising options available.
Unfortunately, many have not made the attitude shift, nor have they kept up with the current legislative and industrial law requirements. This frequently results in the leader or manager attempting to bully the committee members into a course of action, or inaction, that might expose them to personal liability.
Sometimes when a new Board Member realises the extent of their personal exposure to liability they frequently resign as a straight personal wealth protection measure and become extremely cautious about any future involvement with any other community organisation. This is where experience counts.
“Having and entrepreneur on a non-profit board can make a huge difference to the outcomes”. Peter sergeant
The current attitude amongst some non-profits is that they discuss and plan the future activities of their members and volunteers without their prior consent and endorsement. This can undermine and cause conflict with the management team and the Board.
Many members often feel things that they would like to see happen are ignored. They frequently resign as the easy non-confrontational way out.
For the non-profit to function well, it must comply with its articles and constitution from which arises its legal identity. Without the legal identity, it ceases to exist in the eyes of the law and thus becomes unable to enter into commercial transactions and agreements, which could be the very source of its funds and working capital.
Government grants always seem to come with strings attached along with a compliance burden, often steering the organisation in and unacceptable direction based on opinions of someone in and office far away from the coal face.
Micro-management is the curse of the non-profit industry and is usually the biggest killer of productivity and performance.
Insolvent Trading is a very nasty charge and one that the Board Members as individuals can be exposed to. The risk is totally unacceptable to existing and potential members, especially those with some realisable assets.
In summary, the Board Members need to explain to the members, staff and volunteers that their role has the responsibility for the overall operation of the organisation. All too often people feel frustrated and eventually leave because there is a lack of communication and transparency.
A poorly funded non-profit ultimately means a loss to the community, regardless of how right someone’s personal views may be towards being properly funded.
[read more=”Personal Experience” less=”Personal Experience”]
I believe that many of the nagging problems non-profit organisations are dealing with could be easily solved if there was more collaboration with the business community. After all a non-profit is the same as a business with the exception of how their surplus (Profit ) is dispersed.
Whenever I become involved with non-profit having problems, it can be traced back to them having poor meeting procedures. Meetings become a social outing where the hard issues are avoided.