Extending the Life of Committees

By Bob Harris, CAE “Committees begin the year with enthusiasm. They receive assignments from the board and authority from the bylaws. An orientation and policies point them in the right direction. Volunteer groups supplement the work of the board, vet ideas, engage members, and develop future leaders. They can tackle tough issues, create new programs…

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Governance Efficiencies

By Bob Harris, CAE “In a regional webinar on good governance the chief elected president said, ‘Bob taught us these practices years ago.  We adopted them and now have a more efficient board.’   When meeting with boards I ask how the governance routines came about. The common answer, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’…

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Board Orientation Workbook

By Bob Harris, CAE “An association or chamber needs a dedicated group of leaders working together to advance a cause or mission. Nonprofit organizations have served the USA for more than 150 years. With 1.5 million nonprofit, exempt organizations, the common traits are the purpose of advancing a mission and volunteer leadership team. Good governance…

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How Your Board Can Make Lemonade Out of Pandemic Lemons


By Bob Harris, CAE “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” is a phrase used to promote a positive attitude during adversity. The lemons represent the sourness or difficulties. Making lemonade is turning them into something positive or desirable. Many executives are making lasting improvements during the pandemic adversity. A discussion I recently had with…

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Leadership, Governance, and Pandemic Recovery Book Review

jesus kiteque  unsplash

Written by: Bob Harris, CAE Reviewed by: William D. Pawlucy, CAE, MPA, IOM The new board guide for the summer and remainder of 2020 is titled Leadership, Governance, and Pandemic Recovery.  It is 40-pages, free, offering guidance and hope for economic rebound with innovative ideas on how to reimagine the board room.   To address the…

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Firing a Volunteer

putting out fires

  Volunteering is a part of America’s culture.   People step forward to help advance a cause or community. There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit, exempt organizations in the US.   Each has a board of directors and committee structure composed of volunteers.   While every person intends to add value, there are some behaviors that should…

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The Second Wave

big wave

By Bob Harris, CAE and Dot Miller, CAE We are hopeful there will be no second wave of the coronavirus, or that mitigation will reduce its impact.   Health officials have predicted a return in the fall and through the winter. Associations must prepare.  Are we taking advantage of what we have learned in the…

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Wrong People at the Planning Retreat

stragic planning

By Bob Harris, CAE Association planning retreats are convened every few years.   They represent a significant investment in people’s time and meeting costs.    Attendees are asked to create a 3 to 5-year roadmap. The results should best position the organization and communicate value to members.  During the process, volunteers and staff will take deep dives…

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Extending Board Terms

association options

By Bob Harris, CAE An association relies on its board to govern.   It sets the vision and advances the mission to best position the organization and serve its members.   Through the pandemic, some directors may have reasons they can no longer volunteer.   Concerns about jobs, business survival, health and family come first.   It is…

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Back the Strategic Plan with Resources


Bob Harris, CAE and Leonard Toenjes, CAE There is a saying, “Put your money where your mouth is.”  It means if you have an idea or plan, it should be supported by resources.  Without aligning resources any plan is unlikely to succeed.  In associations, resources include time, finances, committees, leaders, and staff. Roadmap A strategic…

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