When public pressure is intense, what can you do?

At a recent workshop, a director from a school board split by pandemic-related decisions asked me what board members can do in the face of intense public pressure. These are tough times for local non-partisan government bodies, for sure. Here are some thoughts about what can be done. Download PDF Listen to your constituents, while…

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Should you have co-presidents for your nonprofit board?

Nonprofit organizations, like many voluntary groups in our country, struggle to locate and recruit adequate leadership. People are living such busy lives, with the demands of work, family, and personal well-being, that they find it a challenge to take on a leadership role. When there is a dearth of candidates to lead an organization—and often…

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When should the clerk speak up?

The clerk of a local government meeting or the secretary on a nonprofit board has a high calling. Under Robert’s Rules, two persons must be present for a valid meeting: the chair and the secretary. They cannot be the same person, and state law often specifies this as well. The clerk or secretary keeps the…

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“America will be”

The current turmoil in our country over social justice issues isn’t the first time, of course, that people have grappled with inequality. August 4, 1789 was a landmark in the struggle to recognize all human beings as equally worthy. Representatives of all 3 “estates” were meeting in Versailles outside Paris—the clergy, the nobility, and the…

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Failure

Guest post by Craig Freshley. We are big fans of Craig’s wisdom and are delighted to share this post with our readers. Visit Craig’s website for more superb tips on meetings and leadership. In principle, failure is an option. In fact, it is only through failure – the timeless evolutionary principle of trial and error…

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Message from a Black Parliamentarian

Guest post by Laura Rabb Morgan, a Black Professional Registered Parliamentarian. Thank you Laura for sharing this important message with us. Laura tells her story on video in our free webinar, “Better Meetings Advance Social Justice.” Dear Fellow Parliamentarians: As people around the world continue to come together to protest and demand an end to…

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What can a president do without the board? Thoughts on leadership

  Several readers have written to me recently with questions about their authority as president of a nonprofit organization. It seems that Jurassic Parliament has been almost too successful at expounding the principle that during the meeting, the chair is the servant of the group, and the group is the final authority. These readers drew…

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Our worst selves

  When I served on the board of the American Translators Association, a fellow board member drove me crazy. His blithe assumption of superiority and his ego were insufferable. Of course, it is a truism of psychology that a strong emotional reaction like that is linked to unresolved inner issues. When I looked at the…

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3 major pitfalls for nonprofit boards

In my experience there are three major pitfalls that can affect the ability of a nonprofit board of directors to fulfill its duty and serve its organization. Pitfall 1 – lack of immediate feedback In many cases, nonprofit boards are dealing with matters whose results will occur sometime in the future—next month, next year, or…

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Remedies for abuse of authority by the chair in a meeting

Updated August 26, 2021 Abuse of authority by the chair can be challenging. Here is the guidance from Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition. Our blog posts listed below give more information on the practical aspects of dealing with abuse of authority by the chair. Download PDF Remedies for Abuse of Authority by…

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