Tiffani Mensch is ABN's Director of Education & Outreach. With 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Tiffani is passionate about helping organizations achieve greater mission impact. If you would like to contribute to the ABN Blog, contact Tiffani at email@example.com.
An Inside Look at the 2018 Board Excellence Conference
By Tiffani Mensch on March 15, 2018
After much brainstorming and intentional research, I am pleased to release our full agenda of session topics, descriptions, speakers for the 3rd Annual Board Excellence Conference on May 1st, 2018.
This year’s conference will focus on transforming nonprofit boards through resources, relationships, and responsibility.
To begin the brainstorming process, I sent ABN staff and the ABN Programming Committee the following question: “What do you wish your board member knew?”
The responses varied greatly, but a common theme began to emerge. Quite simply, nonprofit staff and executive directors wish their board members were more involved. This desire for more board involvement includes participation in fundraising, networking and introductions to potential donors and volunteers, and advocacy of the organization’s mission.
The conversation continued with ABN consultants and former ABN board chair, Dr. Alex Miller of the Haslam College of Business. More questions arose: “Are executive directors and nonprofit staff expecting too much from their board members? Or are board members misunderstanding the expectations of serving on a nonprofit board?”
This feedback guided my research of national board conference topics, speakers, and themes. Did you know outside of BoardSource, only one organization (in San Diego, CA) hosts a conference specifically on board development? They both presented similar conference themes: hot topic HR issues, succession planning, risk management, and fundraising.
With national research, input from ABN members, and board feedback, the ABN team gathered for another two-hour brainstorming session. With all of the topics, suggestions, and ideas written up on a white board, we identified common themes and created the following session tracks: Resources, Relationships, and Responsibility. The Resources track will address board members’ contributions to the nonprofits they serve through fund development, mission advocacy, and diversity. The Relationships track will highlight the importance of building connections in and outside the boardroom. Finally, the Responsibility track will tackle the legal duty and function of board members in nonprofit governance.
I ask you to please join us on May 1st as we begin to unpack the challenges faced by board members, executive directors, and nonprofit staff. It is my hope that this conference will begin to answer the uncertainty of expectations, and continue the conversation among all nonprofit stakeholders regarding effective board practices.
Chloe Perry, Director of Programs & Special Events