It may appear — due to the fact that we haven’t posted much — that January was a quiet, uneventful month at BoardSource. But nothing could be further from the truth. The first 31 days of 2017 were quite busy, and we are excited about it!
We kicked off the year with a focus on the importance of advocacy in times of major leadership change, and launched a new framework on measuring fundraising effectiveness. Both of which are getting very positive feedback!
And as some of you may have noticed, the BoardSource website looks pretty different these days, and we are thrilled about its early results. We initially launched the new boardsource.org in late 2016, but thought it was important to sit back and listen to what our community had to say, so we could make the needed adjustments before launching more publicly. And did you spot another big change? We updated our brand too, but first, I want to tell you more about some of the other big things that we’ve been up to.
In times of change, board members must be advocates
“The Stand for Your Mission campaign has never been about partisanship or a particular political view, nor is it about advancing any policy agenda. It’s about a fundamental understanding of the role of nonprofits in society, what our work means to this country and the people we serve, and how all of that is affected by the decisions our elected officials make and the policies they enact.”
Anne Wallestad, president & CEO, BoardSource
BoardSource launched the Stand for Your Mission campaign in 2014 to encourage nonprofit leaders and board members to be ambassadors and advocates for their missions. We did this because we understand how important advocacy is to the success and impact of our sector, and the critical role that board members can play in supporting and accelerating their organization’s advocacy efforts. The campaign website has lots of resources to download, such as discussion guides for nonprofit and foundation leaders, expectations and templates for board members, and guidance about the rules and regulations of nonprofit advocacy, just to name a few.
And never is there a more important time for board members and organizations to engage in advocacy then when elected leadership has changed. In a January 19th op-ed, “In Times of Change, Board Members Must Be Advocates,” featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Anne Wallestad, BoardSource president and CEO, highlights three important things for board members to do in light of the changing political landscape:
- Assess your new reality: If you haven’t already, you should have a conversation in the boardroom about the range of potential opportunities and threats that your organization could face.
- Articulate your values and beliefs: Now more than ever, nonprofit organizations need to have a deep understanding of their organizational values: what you are as an organization, what you care about, and why. This goes much deeper than defining your mission or advocacy agenda and is about the fundamental principles that guide your organization’s decision making.
- Outline advocacy priorities and help make them happen: New leadership may mean that your organization’s policy priorities have shifted, or they may remain exactly the same. Regardless, a new set of players in any leadership body means new power dynamics, and nonprofits cannot take anything for granted in terms of public support — whether that support is financial or policy-related.
In addition to this important call-to-action for nonprofit leaders, BoardSource launched a social media campaign asking leaders to share what they stand for and encouraging them to be vocal about what is most important to them.
For more on the critical role of board members in advocacy, check out the following:
- Advocacy: An essential board responsibility is a blog post where you can find great information
- How to Get Board Members Involved in Advocacy
Measuring Fundraising Effectiveness – A new framework
And just two weeks ago, BoardSource — together with our colleagues at the Association of Fundraising Professionals, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and GuideStar — launched a new framework for measuring fundraising effectiveness. As I’m sure you know, nonprofits are often accused of spending too much on fundraising. This new framework tackles that challenge head on by putting cost of fundraising into the appropriate context. It proposes three primary measures of fundraising effectiveness, which, together, provide a much more complete picture of an organization’s fundraising health. It emphasizes how important it is to invest in strong and sustainable fundraising programs, and communicate that to the public.
We’ve received great initial feedback, and I encourage you to visit our website to learn more and download the measuring fundraising effectiveness toolkit to get started (it’s free). You also might want to take a look at a few of the blog posts and articles highlighting this new framework:
- A Tool for Measuring Fundraising Efficiency | The Chronicle of Philanthropy
- Changing the Conversation about Measuring Fundraising Effectiveness | Center for Effective Philanthropy
- Measuring Fundraising Effectiveness | The David & Lucile Packard Foundation
- Calculating Costs Is Just The Start | The NonProfit Times
Have you seen the new boardsource.org?
Have you been to the BoardSource website in the past couple of months? If not, you are missing out. We launched a brand new website late in late 2016 and — with it — a new BoardSource brand. Our new logo is modern and sophisticated, and much more versatile. Being adaptable and forward thinking is a hallmark of the new BoardSource brand, and we hope you like what you see.
And our new website — well, it has allowed us to make some major changes and advancements in technology. After months (OK, maybe a year plus a few months) of thorough research and planning, we launched a site based on feedback we received from our members and our larger network. Here’s a quick snapshot of the site’s new functionality:
- New “Topics” section: 14 important governance and leadership topics are defined and explained. Even now, we are tweaking this section to better meet your needs and are in the process of highlighting our guides, tools, templates, infographics, books, toolkits, and written resources specific to each topic. Check out the new design in the strategy and planning section.
- Our new training calendar makes it easy to search for webinars, trainings, and events by month, day, or week, as well as by topic.
- The shopping experience was significantly improved, but there are even more improvements in development. For now, we’ve made it much easier for you find information quickly by giving you the ability to search using the following filters: topic; content level (101, 201, 301); audience; role; and type of product or service.
- We’ve also made it easier for members to quickly access their benefits by creating a dedicated page that outlines all of the important resources available as part of our membership programs.
We hope you’re as excited about the new site as we are. And more technology updates are on the way. We soon will be overhauling and enhancing our online store to create a better user experience and implementing a new Customer Relationship Management system, or CRM. A more robust, yet flexible, CRM will allow us to be more efficient and, in turn, serve our community better.
As you can now see, it’s been busy at BoardSource! We hope you’ll take a moment to share any comments or feedback you have for us, as our goal is always to serve and support you and the important work that you do!