The Bender Method
“The most important element in agency (organizational) structure is the membership and activity of its board of directors. No other aspect of a voluntary agency is a more certain indicator of the state of its health or more crucial to that health. If one were limited to a single question on the status of an agency, it would be well to ask for attendance by name of members at meetings of the board and executive committee held during the last three years. If the answer shows the average to be less than the indicated 50% of the four meetings per year (or how ever often your board meets), and if those attending are always the same members, then one may be sure that something is wrong with the agency." ~ Lippincott and Hannestad, “Management of Voluntary Agencies,” Harvard Business Review
The Alliance for Better Nonprofits strives to find trainers and consultants who are passionate about nonprofits, and Jack Bender is a prime example of someone who truly cares about his work. Jack Bender retired from the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in 2006 after 37 years of service. His experience in various cities and on local and national association levels gave him the insight to develop what’s been coined as “The Bender Method” to board evaluation.
Through The Bender Method, existing board members are to be evaluated with eight major factors by an established board assessment team. This process asks that each board member is ranked by the criteria and allows for the overall board to be assessed for both strengths and weaknesses in board make-up. The results allow the board to make strategic decisions, aligned with a strategic plan, for board recruitment.
Jack Bender will be presenting his method on September 20, 2016 at the Alliance for Better Nonprofits in a training entitled "Develop a Dynamic Board: Assess, Nominate and Recruit." Jack is also available for consulting projects through ABN.
Elle Benson is the Director of Capacity Building for the Alliance for Better Nonprofits (ABN), East Tennessee’s nonprofit resource center. She oversees the educational development and consulting practices at ABN. Elle brought ten years of nonprofit and business consulting experience into assisting in the creation of ABN. Her nonprofit experience includes fundraising, nonprofit program development, nonprofit and corporate marketing, human resources, board governance, and strategic planning. She holds a certification in board governance from BoardSource, a global network advancing board governance practices. She also has a certificate in group facilitation. She earned a business degree from the Haslam College of Business, and she completed her MBA in leadership and organizational change at Tiffin University.
She currently teaches nonprofit management for the University of Tennessee Non-Credit Programs. Elle enjoys being involved in the community, having served on eight nonprofit boards. She is currently serving on boards and committees for the Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee, Friends of Literacy, United Way of Greater Knoxville, and Young Professionals of Knoxville.