A crisis can tell you a lot about your organization. If your nonprofit is functioning at healthy levels, you are able to build upon these strong foundations to weather storms and continue to further the mission. On the other hand, a crisis can often bring up fundamental issues within an organization that need to be dealt with. Here are some areas to take a closer look into to ensure that your organization is set up to withstand and come out of a crisis situation thriving.
It is a Team Effort
When determining the health of an organization, one needs to look no further than the leadership of the Executive Director or CEO and the Board of Directors. These individuals should be cultivating a productive culture centered around the nonprofit’s core values and mission. Each individual must have a clear understanding of the mission and display commitment through making unique contributions to its success.
When crises emerge, these individuals must remember why they are here. Their actions always need to take into account the good of the whole. It is vital to be able to do the right thing even when it is hard. When there is this kind of leadership at the top of the organization, the rest of the staff and volunteers will organically follow their example.
Focused and organized
As a board member or Executive Director/CEO, if you are committed to this type of leadership, you will be able to carry out your mission in a focused and organized way. This will allow you to be able to move through any potential fear surrounding a crisis, see challenges as opportunities, be creative and collaborative and continue serving your mission.
Executive Director/CEO relationship with the Board of Directors:
It is essential as an Executive Director to be able to facilitate discussions that are organized and clear to ensure that a nonprofit is always moving toward mission based action. Everyone must be rowing in the same direction. Miscommunications and disagreements must be handled swiftly and moved past in a safe space where the leaders can work collaboratively. Here are some key focuses for an Executive Director when fostering this relationship with the board of directors.
- Accountability. As the Executive Director, you must be clear about your own commitments and accomplishments and how they further the mission. This will give you the ability to follow up on board commitments and accountability.
- Communication. You are the one who is in the day to day operations and will be able to have a clear insight into what is happening within the organization. It is important to understand the best way to communicate with each board member to keep them informed and on the same track and avoid miscommunications.
- Appreciation. Board members are volunteers who make efforts to support the mission and you. Showing appreciation goes a long way to build these relationships and continue to move productively forward together.
- Outreach Efforts. Effective communication about your organization’s impact needs to reach your community to garner continuous support. Know your board and understand how each person can individually support these efforts.
The Board President
As a Board President, or Chair, you must be one of the most dedicated individuals to the mission of a nonprofit. You must be able to provide clarity if the leadership team ever veers off mission and hold them accountable to doing what they have committed to doing. Here are some focuses that will lead to effectiveness as a Board President.
- Culture. You need to be able to partner with the Executive Director to always guide the leadership team with the core values and mission. Part of your role is to hold each individual on the team accountable to operate with these in mind.
- Responsibility. You have a huge impact on the health of your board. It is important to understand the different capacities and capabilities of the board and how they can best serve the organization. Don’t let board members waste energy on efforts that don’t make sense. When issues arise, ask the right questions in order to be able to deal with the issues and move on. Board members should be able to depend on your consistency, honesty, communication and organization.
- Productivity. Make sure that efforts are always moving forward and that the team is being proactive and adjusting efforts when it makes sense. If something seems to be stuck, deal with it as quickly as possible so it won’t get in the way of the nonprofit’s momentum.
- Strategic. We cannot stress enough how important it is that efforts are always supporting the mission. You need to continually be able to take a step back and see how each effort fits into the big picture of accomplishing and growing the mission.