- Governance and Board Relations
In governing an organization and in inducing change, it is important to consider the different factors that may positively or negatively affect the organization in reaching its goals. That way, the entire team or from a larger perspective, the entire organization would be able to make the necessary contingency plans in case something goes wrong because if there is even the slightest chance that something would go wrong, then something probably will. The main or key question that will be answered in this memorandum is how the organization can redesign a new nonprofit resource development strategy. Clearly, the previously implemented strategy did not work out so well because if it did, the current administration would not have to create a new one from scratch.
The first step would be for the organization to set its goal. This process hardly requires any effort because in any type of organization, the first thing to do in launching any campaign, be it a for-profit or a not for profit one, is to set the goal. Preferably the goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. In this case, the person who will be in charge of the goal setting should not only be one person. Everyone should participate in the goal setting process. A brainstorming session intended solely for the organization to establish its long and short term goals in launching the new resource development strategy would definitely be a good idea because two or more brains working together at the same time would always be better than just a single one. What has been established in this first step would most likely be the direction that the board or the company would be traversing over the next few months to years. In inducing change or in this case, making the once informal board meeting and other procedures more formal, everyone should participate and it is a good thing that this becomes implemented right in the beginning.
The next best thing to do would be to orient the board members, firmly if necessary about their legal, fiduciary, and other related duties to the company as what they are—as board members. In general, their duties as board members include exercising the authorities given to them in good faith considering first and foremost the welfare and how their action (exercising their authority) would benefit the organizational and its stakeholders with attention, care, diligence, and skill; complying with the local, state, and federal laws and policies; assisting the organization and its members in achieving the purposed vision and mission of the organization; and most importantly, complying, strictly, with the organization’s bylaws and articles of incorporation.
Since the board meetings have become informal and not so productive for quite some time now, they may have forgotten what the terms and phrases above would mean in a real life or work setting. Basically and collectively, they mean that as board members, they are expected to be “objective, unselfish, responsible, honest, trustworthy, and efficient” worthy of public trust and a man with honor and integrity .
Since time is a key commodity in almost any organizational setting, as the newly hired and appointed executive director of this firm, I would not waste my time lecturing the board members on how they should react, behave, or how they are expected to contribute to the growth of the firm. Rather, I would focus on how they apply the knowledge they obtained about their duties and responsibilities in the firm from its bylaws and articles of incorporation. It would work best if we will have a standard set of materials that we could follow and use as reference in case some future disagreements and misunderstandings arise and that would be the firm’s bylaws and articles of incorporation.
- Organizational Assessment and Program Evaluation
When it comes to organizational assessment and program evaluation, there are a lot of things to consider such as how the evaluation will be executive or the type of approach that will be used, the major goals of the evaluation program, the perceived impact of the program, and relevant measures for the goals, and the potential risks and drawbacks that may be encountered, among others.
When asked with the question what type of evaluation procedure or program to use, the best answer would always be it depends. In general, process evaluations are more suitable for local foundations that sponsor programs that aim to solve a qualitative more than a quantitative problem (i.e. a local foundation that sponsors programs that aim to improve the quality of life of a particular community or population); outcome evaluation procedures on the other hand works best for local foundations that sponsor programs that aim to solve quantitative rather than qualitative problems. In this case, however, since the major goal of the program is to decrease the number of occupationally injured people in a nearby factory worker, an outcome-based evaluation would work best because aside from the fact that it can be used in both situations the efficiency of the program can be more easily and accurately described using numbers, although how well it can detect minute changes in outcomes, for example, may still vary.
Some of the recommendations that we have when it comes to the assessment process include but may not be limited to: using only a single outcome or index in measuring the effectiveness of the program or any measurable or describable outcome that is related to it. It is also recommended to focus only on one or two outcomes (i.e. not too many) at a time so that the local foundation can be sure that their program evaluation and organizational assessment efforts are yielding not only positive but also accurate results.
An erroneous evaluation would almost always yield to a false finding and in that case, the best and only option would be to redo the entire process if the local foundation really wants to know the real deal about their programs and their organization. If the evaluation and assessment processes involve a lot of expenses, then that would be a bigger problem. So, if the organization and program evaluation team wants to get it done with just one try, they have to do everything right.
A possible risk in this case may be the inability of the assessment and evaluation team leaders to orient and monitor their subordinates. Surely, this is a task that cannot be completed by just a single man. Most likely, this will be a team effort and so coordination and communication are two of the most important factors that should be considered. The executive director should make sure that everyone knows what they are doing because otherwise, the organizational assessment and program evaluation would have to be redone, from scratch in a worst case scenario.
Renz, D. and R. Herman. "The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management." Jossey-Bass (2010): 872.
The Bridgespan Group. "Fiduciary Responsibilities of Board Members." The Bridgespan Group (2014).