Stop the Nonprofit Board Blame Game

governance as leadership improvement leadership Feb 07, 2022
Stop the Nonprofit Board Blame Game

Guest Blog by Hardy Smith


Hey! For every finger you point, there are four pointing back at you!


The frustration often associated with nonprofit boards is real. For many organizations, relationships with their board members are a dysfunctional mess.


Compounding that challenge is that a lot of board members blame the nonprofit they serve for a poor board service experience as a reason for boards not meeting performance expectations.


So the complaints about board engagement go in both directions.


When relationships between staff and board—and those among board members themselves—aren’t operating in a positive and productive manner, the mission suffers.


Much of the fault rests on the repeating cycle of poor practices that are in desperate need of change. You know Einstein’s famous quote about doing things the same way and expecting a different result. Well, isn’t it about time to consider something new to build positive nonprofit board relationships so boards can and will meet desired expectations?


Actually, it’s long past time.


And that is the goal of Stop the Nonprofit Board Blame Game: to provide something new—something to transform the relationships between nonprofits and their board members.


Just imagine the possibilities if the frustrations felt on both sides could be ended and all parties were enabled to come together to build the collaborative culture necessary to achieve mission potential.


Realize that possibility by breaking the cycle of frustrating relationships and benefit from fully engaged boards, with these six action strategies.

  • Recruit board members with purpose and process.
  • Rethink board expectations.
  • Use planning as an engagement tool.
  • Create a positive board experience.
  • Avoid relationship mistakes that create disengagement.
  • Be intentional about developing board leadership.


Stop The Nonprofit Board Blame Game doesn’t just identify problems and tell what actions should be taken. This resource also provides the critical how-to steps for making recommended solutions happen.


Your organization might currently enjoy a highly effective and very engaged board; however, you can still profit from the lessons this book provides to help ensure that those positive, productive relationships remain strong.


The painful experience of COVID-19 that began in 2020 taught us that we can adjust to change better than we thought possible. It demonstrated that organizations must have in place leadership with the ability to lead and to set the example of adaptive behavior necessary to meet difficult demands. Leaders with the foresight to find new and creative paths to overcome adversity are the ones who will give their causes opportunity for long-term survival.


Remember this often-overlooked fact: Change represents opportunity. Wisely chosen, happy, and visionary board members will help your organization recognize and champion opportunities of value.


A nonprofit’s board is a high-value asset. Support and nurture yours and reap the rewards: You will avoid board frustration and dysfunction, and you will position yourself to face the future strategically and successfully.


Hardy Smith is author of Stop The Nonprofit Board Blame Game. As a consultant and speaker, he works with nonprofits who want to benefit from fully engaged boards. Stop The Nonprofit Board Blame Game is available on Amazon.)


What are your main “pain points” dealing with board improvement? What advice would be most helpful to you? And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!


Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.



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Four weeks. Two brief video lessons (watch at your convenience) per week plus downloadable handouts. 30-day money-back guarantee.

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