In today’s episode, Stephen Halasnik and David Langiulli talk about the basic foundation in nonprofit organizations and what it means to have effective board members and board performance. It is no secret that open communication helps an organization run more effectively and avoid potential conflict, but what does this look like for day to day operations? With strategic planning and a proper board culture, your nonprofit will be able to run more effectively and reach your organization’s mission faster. 

Today’s Topic: Being a Nonprofit Leader: A Guide For Board Members

How to Be an Effective and Responsible Nonprofit Board Member

We all know that having board meetings in the number one baseline to having an effective board. Individual board members coming together to meet as a full board is the best way to incorporate strategic planning into your operations. What does this actually look like for individuals? Having a structure and being able to stick to it is crucial. Being candid, open, expressing opinions and ideas will help everyone get a better feel for how others are feeling on the board. Possible topics for discussion include talking about the agenda, risk management, how frequently to meet, what should be discussed at each meeting, etc.

Without openness and honesty, board members can become frustrated and this can create conflict, as individuals may not feel their ideas are being heard nor respected. Having a structure and sticking to it is crucial, but make sure to check in with your other board members periodically to ensure the current course of action is working for everyone. This will pay dividends and in the end create less turnover within your organization. 

Keep in mind too as new board members are taken on board, it is crucial to fill them in properly, keep them in the loop, ask them about their opinions, and allow them to have a say in discussions, strategic plans and the direction of meetings. It is also important to have proper job descriptions so new members know what they are getting themselves into.

The Importance of Culture Within the Nonprofit Sector

As stated above, it is almost impossible to avoid conflicts of interest as a whole, so it is crucial to have strategies in place to help with culture. Having a culture that is all encompassing and welcoming to all ideas is so important for longevity. This in turn can help lead to better decision making as well. What are so important factors to keep in mind when talking about culture? Culture can factor in upholding and maintaining aspects of accountability. This could look like having a template of expectations for new members and old staff members to follow and sign in agreement on. As new members come in and old ones leave, it is important to let them know what is expected of them in order to form a stable culture. Culture isn’t formed overnight, and that is why having a specific layout of expectations is crucial.

Without a proper culture of honesty and advocacy, the issue of gossip can come up. Gossip is formed when members feel like they can’t approach their team with issues or concerns. In order to ensure gossip is minimized, it is also the board executive to embody a culture that is welcoming to their members which is approachable and non judgemental. Being open to feedback and also acknowledging suggestions is also important. It is one thing for members to listen to suggestions, but it requires another level of communication and honesty to act on those suggestions. 

David Langiulli suggests that behavior assessments are also considered in order to assess personality types of board members. For example, the DiSC Behavior Assessment assesses communication styles and what an individual’s preferred communication style is. This can help in regards to feedback and acknowledgement of suggestions. For example, there are a diverse set of communication styles. Some individuals may be more rational and analytical, and others may have a more creative and spontaneous way of communications. Being able to identify these differences can help when conflict arises, because this information can help pinpoint areas of issues. 

Top Three Attributes for a Board to Have Successful Fundraising

  1. Be Willing to Get Messy: Don’t be afraid to dive into the unknown. Be available to try new things, even if you haven’t tried it before, and be willing to experiment. 
  2. Ask Yourself “Who Do I Know”: Ask yourself who you know who may care about your mission. 
  3. Don’t Be Afraid of Getting a “No”: Once your complete steps one and two, and you get a response you didn’t hope for, don’t get discouraged or take it personally.  In addition to this, don’t stray away from people just because you feel uncomfortable, because you never know what the outcome could be. Don’t let your own self-limiting beliefs stop you from reaching people who may benefit from your board service and organization. 

The Importance of Executive Directors in Nonprofit Organizations

Implementing strong Nonprofit leadership and good governance strategy in place is going to be your outline on how your nonprofit committee members and board operate. Board Governance and board leadership are the basic structure for how you want things to be run, and without that board members really would have nothing to work with. Both board members and executives have to work together to hear each other, while also holding up their end of the expectations. This also ties back into understanding your board needs. A good executive director listens to the wants and needs of their members, and this helps create that trustworthy culture talked about above. 

This can carry out all the way into your onboarding of new board members, as well as financial management too. As a board leader, it is important to make sure that all your new members are aware of your governance practices and bylaws so that all your board members know what their legal and fiduciary duties are. Further, having proper leadership is crucial for succession planning. When it comes to the transition of power, it is important to have a clear and organized plan in place so that when it is time, your board of directors, board chair, chief executive, etc. are all given the information for a smooth transition. This may even include maintaining all from documents for the IRS, especially if you are a tax-exempt organization. This will help ensure that your organization is organized, run legally, and is up to par with all the nonprofit expectations in the United States (or wherever you are located). Everybody will feel happier at an organization that is run properly. 


I would like to thank so very much David Langiulli from Fundraising Leadership. If you like today’s podcast, please feel free to share it with a friend and also subscribe on your favorite podcasting ap. If you liked today’s podcast please give us a review on your podcasting app to help us get the word out,  and of course, if you are looking for a Line of Credit for your nonprofit, you can call us at 862-207-4118 or visit our website at David if anyone wants to get in touch with you how can they reach you. 

Thank you all for making the world a better place.

About the Guest David Langiulli, Fundraising Leadership

David Langiulli is from Fundraising Leadership.

David Langiulli is an experienced leader, fundraiser, trainer, and a certified professional Co-Active coach. David uses all of his courage, compassion, and wisdom to help leaders and their organizations flourish and thrive. As a coach, he’s been described as “gently-fierce!”  David loves helping nonprofit leaders clarify what’s essential and important so they can effectively lead their teams, and achieve results for their organizations.  As a trainer, he helps teams, working groups, and boards build trust, engage in healthy conflict, and create cultures of accountability, candor, and integrity.  His professional background spans both the nonprofit and corporate sectors for over three decades.  Fun Fact: David is currently on a 10yr quest to be a black belt in the martial art of Jiu-Jitsu.  

About The Host Stephen Halasnik, Financing Solutions

Stephen Halasnik is the host of the popular, The Nonprofit MBA Podcast. The Nonprofit MBA podcast’s purpose is to help nonprofit leaders. Mr. Halasnik is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Financing Solutions. Financing Solutions is a leading provider of Lines of Credit to nonprofits and small businesses. 

Mr. Halasnik is a graduate of Rutgers University and has an Executive Masters from the MIT Birthing of Giants Entrepreneurship program. Mr. Halasnik is a best selling Amazon author and is considered a leading authority on building great, purpose-driven businesses. Mr. Halasnik lives in New Jersey with his best friend, his wife Gina. Mr. Halasnik’s number one purpose is raising his two boys, Michael and Maxwell, to be good men. 

About Financing Solutions Business Line of Credit

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