Board Development : Successful Nonprofits

Effective boards build successful nonprofits

Cost Effective Board Development

Effective boards build successful nonprofits

Cost Effective Board Development

by GoldenburgGroup

Successful boards build successful nonprofits.

Because successful boards build successful nonprofits, we focus on giving your nonprofit board the knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed. In fact, our board development engagements have resulted in stronger board member engagement, better understanding of the board governance role, and even better fundraising results.

Board Evaluation

Participating in a candid and accurate board evaluation is a best practice for nonprofit boards. To help you get the most from this endeavor, our board evaluation process includes three primary pillars:

  1. Measuring your board’s actual performance data (such as meeting attendance, committee participation and fundraising)
  2. Using a third-party evaluation tool
  3. Having a structured individual conversation with each board member to uncover and better understand your board’s strengths and challenges

We typically do not offer board evaluation as a “stand alone” service and instead integrate it into board trainings, retreats and our Supercharged Board process.

Praise from a Board Development Partner

The Sheltering Arms Board had been on a 12-month journey towards increased effectiveness when we engaged Dolph and his firm. Dolph’s leadership and willingness to tailor a program that met us where we were on our journey was invaluable. He added a personalized and objective touch to engaging our large board, providing us with segmented insights that would have been more challenging to uncover working on our own. Because of Dolph, the Sheltering Arms Board has increased momentum going into a new year and is on the path to operating at higher levels of effectiveness!

– Michael Smith, Sheltering Arms Board Chair

Praise from a Board Development Partner

Dolph’s presentation on board expectations was well organized and produced great results. The discussion on attendance, fundraising and committee participation engaged the board members. One member specifically re-committed to a leadership role and recruited several new members to his committee! Thank you Dolph for the motivating and energetic presentation!

​       – Carol Gray, Laws of Life

Custom Board Training

We offer training customized to your nonprofit board’s needs, as well as standard board training modules that would benefit any governing board. Whether customized or standard, all of our trainings are dynamic and interactive experiences that ensure full board participation.

A strong board evaluation is at the heart of all our customized board trainings. Through the evaluation, we identify specific growth and developmental areas for your board and lead a half- or full-day retreat. This retreat not only trains the full board but also includes activities that help the board plan for continued work in this area.

Off-The-Shelf Board Training

Our off-the-shelf board trainings are ideal for nonprofit boards that have already identified areas of growth and want to minimize cost. Without any significant customization, these trainings can help make your nonprofit board more effective:

  • Board governance 101: What you need to know to be an effective board member [half-day training]
  • Board governance 201: Taking your board to the next level of effectiveness [half-day training]
  • Staff roles vs. Board roles: Understanding and respecting the line between board and staff [two-hour training]
  • Developing and maintaining committees: What committees should your board have? And what exactly are they supposed to do? [two-hour training]
  • Fiduciary responsibilities of board members: Keeping your board and your organization out of the tabloids [two-hour training]
  • Your individual friend raiser: Raising more money as an individual board member [two-hour training]
  • Solicitor training: Supporting your organization’s annual campaign, major donor campaign and special events [two-hour training]
  • Succession planning: Preparing for your chief executive or board chair to enter the witness protection program [two-hour training]
  • Effective board meetings: Designing meetings that board members are excited to attend [two-hour training]
  • The three predictors of board performance: Attendance, committee participation and philanthropy [two-hour training]

How much will training for my nonprofit board cost?

Less than you might think!

We are often asked how much Successful Nonprofits® charges for consultant-led board development training, and we are always open source about our fee structure. For off-the-shelf trainings, two-hour sessions cost $1,250 and four-hour trainings cost $2,000.

The cost of customized trainings varies, based on the amount of preparation and follow-up necessary to ensure a successful board development experience. Please contact us to discuss your unique training needs.

Board Retreats

Retreats are an excellent opportunity for board members to disconnect from the routine business of the board. This allows your board to explore specific issues in a manner that is more strategic than your typical board meeting.

Successful Nonprofits® will customize a board retreat based on your board evaluation or board development plan. As with all of our facilitation work, your customized retreat will include experiential activities designed especially for your board. These activities give board members hands-on learning opportunities and help ensure success following the retreat.

Some nonprofit boards that already have a keen understanding of their development needs simply ask us to offer three or four of the off-the-shelf trainings listed above as part of their annual board retreat.

Supercharge Your Nonprofit Board: a 12-month process

Boards with sporadic member participation, low meeting attendance, ineffective committees, poor fundraising results, or significant confusion about board/staff roles benefit from this 12-month process.

This proprietary process, which is outlined in Dolph Goldenburg’s book Successful Nonprofits® Build Supercharged Boards, can dramatically increase your board’s engagement and effectiveness. The intensive board development process begins by interviewing board members and key staff; reviewing board minutes; and compiling data on attendance, personal giving and fundraising.

The board assessment results in specific recommendations regarding board policies, a development plan for the entire board, and an individual development plan for each board member.

We present the results of the assessment to all board members at an off-site board retreat. This retreat includes breakout sessions to discuss and develop the board’s action plans.

Following the retreat, we provide remote coaching and assistance to senior leadership and committee chairs for a 9-month period. This helps sustain the board’s commitment to becoming more effective.

The ultimate goal of this board development process is to increase the board’s understanding of its duties, as well as increase its ability to fulfill those important duties.


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