Who is your ideal volunteer and what are your best strategies to find them? Our panel shares online and offline tips, including lots of resources. From the Nonprofit Technology Conference they’re Liza Dyer from Multnomah County Library, with Gina Roberti and Taryn Kearns from Reading Partners.
Should “shut up” be part of your board meetings? Gene Takagi, our legal contributor and principal of the Nonprofit & Exempt Organizations law group (NEO), returns to weigh the pros and cons of dissent on your board vs. speaking with a singe voice. (Originally aired on 12/5/14).
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Hello and welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio. Big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. I’m your aptly named host. We have a listener of the week. Urban stead. They messaged me. Caught your radio show today we’re a small non-profit in philadelphia. Found your show absolutely relevant and helpful. Absolutely relevant. Unhelpful. Not just relevant. Unhelpful. Absolutely. Thank you very much. They do urban farming with at risk youth in philadelphia, which i love that’s where i went to law school. Temple, temple university law school. Now the beasley school like the old, like that old show with mrs beasley the rag doll on was that a family affair with brian keith and mr french anyway? Ah, urban st they’re at urban stead and urban stead dot or ge? Thank so much, herb instead. So glad that you found non-profit radio and that it helps your work. What work? Congratulations on being our listener of the week. Urban stead. Oh, i’m glad you’re with me. I’d be thrown into pica if you forced down my throat. The idea that you missed today’s show find fantastic volunteers who’s, your ideal volunteer. And what do your best strategy is? To find them, our panel shares online and offline tips, including lots of resource, is from the non-profit technology conference there lies a dyer from multnomah county library with gina roberti and taryn kearns from reading partners very literate group also bored unity or descent should shut up. Be part of your board meetings. Jean takagi are legal goal legal contributor and principal of the non-profit and exempt organizations. Law group returns to weigh the pros and cons of dissent on your board versus speaking with a single voice not originally aired on december fifth. Twenty fourteen on tony’s take to your trump challenge. We’re sponsored by pursuing full service fund-raising data driven and technology enabled, you’ll raise more money pursuant dot com and by we be spelling supercool spelling bee fundraisers we be spelling dot com here is find fantastic volunteers from auntie si. Welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of sixteen ntc the non-profit technology conference in san jose, california. This is also part of ntc conversations. We’re in the convention center in san jose. Naturally, where else? Where else would we be? And my guests? Yeah, session topic is fantastic volunteers and where to find them we’re going to meet the guests very shortly. First, have to do a shout out for the swag item for this interview, which is a very hot item appreciated by all three women on the panel. It’s ah, it’s, a red box it’s, a red box, one night rental only liza holds her movies longer than i’m a night, so this is no value to her. But gina and taryn love it, and it is from unleashed unleashed technologies. Red box promo code. One night, we added to the swag pile. And don’t walk away with it, ladies, alright, let’s, meet our guests. Liza dyer is first of all, she has the professional designation cv a certified in volunteer administration. She’s, a program coordinator for volunteers services at the multnomah county library and multnomah county, encompasses portland, oregon. And it’s, oregon not oregon. There’s no e at the end of oregon, i’ve learned that many times. Gina roberti is community engagement manager at reading partners. And taryn kearns is the americorps volunteer coordinator at reading partners. And i started closest to me. So liza is closest to me. And then it’s gina and then taran they’re topic is yes, the fantastic volunteers and where to find them. Let’s, talk down the end there, taryn. What is it that you ladies field non-profits or not getting maybe quite right with volunteers. Gino was in with the face is coming. What you got stuff i want you look it’s. Tough looking issues. You really like the question? Okay, what is it? Well, i’m sorry i directed for tarrant, but i’ll give you the follow-up if she doesn’t, she doesn’t lackluster job at it. Then you can you khun ad on? What do you mean she will do great. Karin, what are we not getting right about volunteers? I think there’s a couple things that we’re not getting quite right volunteers. Perhaps one is retention a lot of non-profits struggle with retaining volunteers, long term reading partners, we retain roughly thirty percent of our volunteers year to year doesn’t seem like a lot of volunteers. We do retain our amazing, but we’d still need to constantly invent new strategies to keep those volunteers engaged, excited and coming back for more to serve our population. You’re retaining thirty means you’re losing seventy percent of your volunteers each year. True? Yeah. That’s. The same as donorsearch a tous ticks no non-profits lose seventy percent of their donors each year. All right, gina, how did she do anything great? If anything, you’d like to add teo terrans assessment of what? We’re not getting quite right. Well, she did great. Okay, i actually think attention. So retention one problem a problem. I actually think we’re really fortunate reading partners where we have dedicated staff to focus on volunteermatch judgment. And i don’t think all non-profits have the capacity to have paid staff. So i feel like that’s you need people who are focused on volunteers and engaging them, appreciating them and developing the program. So i feel fortunate reading partners, but i know that’s not everywhere, and so i feel like that’s what we’re getting wrong in the nonprofit world do we have strategies to help people who aren’t devoted to volunteer management but have other responsibilities as well? We have some ideas for them. You came to the right place, we will have some okay way have twenty five years together, so okay, we do have some ideas, okay? Liza, anything you’d like to add? Yes, oh, something that really leads into a retention is that a lot of non-profits don’t know what they’re looking for in a volunteer, so they don’t know who they are actually trying to attract before they want to retain them. So they go out and they say, yeah, well, take anybody if you believe in our mission will take you, but you don’t really focus on what they’re skillsets is what their knowledge, their background, their availability. And so once you can do that and figure out who your ideal volunteers are, then you can work to engage them and retain. Them for the long term. But it starts with that first relationship. Excellent lead in let’s. Begin there. How how do we identify who the ideal volunteer is? Yeah, perfect. So something that you can do is create a volunteer persona and figure out who? Just like, when you do marketing personas or daughter personas, you can figure out what are the specific skills that i’m looking for and all of that khun lead into a position description. But you also need to think about. So if i am recruiting somebody who can teach computer classes, who are they? Where are they currently at? What is their availability like? So in portland, we have ah, few tech companies, not as money is down here in silicon valley, but we have a few and so, you know, do they have daytime availability? Maybe if they have a corporate responsibility program, they can come and and volunteer during their work time. But if not, well, then you kind of have to taylor, you’re programming maybe have your computer classes at days and times when volunteers are available. Okay, what should we be thinking about? A cz we build these personas? What attributes? Yeah, so you want to think about not just their knowledge and their skills, but also their beliefs or their values? Because if somebody doesn’t have alignment in terms of your organization, then you might not be a good match. So on the one hand, if i am recruiting a bunch of volunteers to stuff envelopes doesn’t matter that they believe in army mittens, maybe, maybe not. If i’m recruiting somebody to teach classes like, for example, citizenship classes at multnomah county library, i’m gonna want somebody who believes in the things that we do and making sure that they have a welcoming personality that can make sure that people feel welcome and also that they believe in the concept of intellectual freedom so people can come in, use the library. We’re not judging them. We’re not censoring anything. We believe people should have free access to information. You know, if somebody doesn’t believe that we’re not a good fit for that. Gina, are there other attributes we variables we can describe to our volunteermatch personas? I think liza covered a lot of really well, well, the age wouldn’t talk about age. I mean, yeah. Yeah. Well, i think it just varies per per volunteer opportunities like reading partners. We have one type of volunteer that we look for. So and for us, it’s fourteen, to retired is the age range which brought age, so we have a bigger audience that we can recruit for. But we also we have a volunteer opportunities monday through thursday between nine and five. So what liza was saying is, here in silicon valley, it works for us because there’s a lot of companies and they have huge corporate social responsibility departments who helped, you know, connect us to the companies, but, you know, oftentimes we’ll find high schoolers there over programmed and, you know, they’re only available between three and five or people who don’t have the same corporate culture of volunteerism they want to do evenings and weekends, and that doesn’t necessarily fit for reading part doesn’t work for you. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Other strategies for finding the ideal volunteer. Taryn besides the user, the volunteer persona. Did you talk about others in your your in your own? Do you programmed yet? Yes, you did. Okay. Ten. Thirty? Yeah. Were there other ideas? Are we exhausted that that part of it? No. I think that there’s so much to talk about a sfar strategies go if you want to get into that and, you know, separate from identifying the ideal volunteer. Okay, great. So based on each type of volunteer that you’re looking for, you need to really assess the community as faras. What kind of resource is either online or actually in person are around you, it’s helpful to be so aware of what schools are around? Maybe if any clubs meet at local coffee shops during the day. So as you get that information and create either a visual layout or just have it in your mind, you can start to target those locations for either long term volunteer opportunities or short term and fill those needs match those volunteers are available at certain times and have different interests with the needs of your organization. So what we’re gonna do? We’re gonna go into the coffee shop and start talking up reading partners and whatever organization is that they may be a strategy for the coffee shop. What if there’s a no solicitation sign on the door? Well, we’ll probably have to obey by that sign, but most places you feel like you go into a place and it’s a gut feeling that you get if they’re open. Teo connecting community members with local opportunity. Right, you’re tuned to non-profit radio. Tony martignetti also hosts a podcast for the chronicle of philanthropy fund-raising fundamentals is a quick ten minute burst of fund-raising insights, published once a month. Tony’s guests are expert in crowdfunding, mobile giving event fund-raising direct mail and donor cultivation. Really, all the fund-raising issues that make you wonder, am i doing this right? Is there a better way there is? Find the fund-raising fundamentals archive it. Tony martignetti dot com that’s marketmesuite n e t t i remember there’s, a g before the end, thousands of listeners have subscribed on itunes. You can also learn maura, the chronicle website philanthropy dot com fund-raising fundamentals the better way. Dahna other strategies? Anybody i don’t necessarily have to pick on you. You want to raise your hands? Anybody guidelines? Yeah. Another thing that you can do is you can survey your staff and find out what our who have been the most successful volunteers in the past. And so, if you say, pick your top ten percent that you would say, i want these people and i want to clone them, and i want to have volunteers at that level on lee, what is it about them? So is that their age? Are they retired? Are they high school students? So they have a lot of technical knowhow. Or is it somebody who has, you know, they are willing to just do what needs to get done? Like if you have a clerical volunteered, you don’t need somebody to go above and beyond necessarily. You just need them to be reliable, dependable and get the work done. So who are the volunteers who have been the most successful? And then you can use that to create your ideal volunteer. And then you, khun specifically target your recruitment for that type of person. And plus you this ideal volunteer that you want to clone? How do we find her? Yeah, you know, who does she know? How could she connect us to people like her? Absolutely right. Okay, okay. Excellent. We got other before we go online or not, i know you have online strategies to we’re not there yet. Other offline in real time. Face-to-face strategies for recruitment. These are excellent. I’d like to build upon that point you just made about how can you talk to someone that’s? Your perhaps ideal volunteer, maybe sametz already volunteering for you and get that person to talk to their friends about opportunities. Peer-to-peer volunteer recruitment is one of the most successful strategies because if you haven’t in, you know sametz already volunteering for going elearning organization and they can vouch for you going to tell you how awesome it is. You know, exactly when i’m teaching kids and their learning and it’s great, you’re much more likely to want to even just try it out and see if it’s a right fit for you, right? Yeah. And i think that using people’s personal networks leveraging those to create further connections is so useful. Excellent works for reading partners is that you get a lot of of your volunteers through testing volunteers with public latto personally. Okay. Anything else we should talk about? Offline. Real world? Yeah. It’s something that i saw it actually in a cafe in nashville, tennessee was a table number sign. You know, you place your order and you get a table number sign has we’re number the restaurant. It was in a restaurant, okay? Restaurant. And so i get my table number and it’s two or whatever and the rest of it is actually a kind of restaurant barbecue, you know, it was like it was like a healthy, you know, like begin. Yeah, s o they have those in tennessee as well. Although it was one of the one you were at the world. I was at the one and only you have it and you were at it. And so i get my numbers are in, and it has the number. But it also has a brochure about a dog rescue non-profit and it was specifically on the back of the tent, the number ten, it was. No, it was it was, you know, sticking up out of ah, like a metal holder and so on. Both sides that had information about volunteering a great partnership. Absolutely. Okay. Have any of you done that successfully with local businesses where they’ll they’ll basically let you have your solicitation materials? No, but like restaurant did mention that to us. And that is on my list of things that we will do next here in silicon valley. You got some places in mind? Yes. Okay. Okay. Next interview. I’ll update you. Okay? You’re presuming you’re gonna be back. Don’t don’t be presumptions will determine that in a couple minutes. Okay, uh, that’s. Excellent. You got ladies. You’re full of ideas. Anything else off line? I don’t mind if we talk more offline before we go online. Nothing else, really world. I think one more thing is another in person. Strategy is inserting yourself the organization into local community events. Say the community center is having a resource fair for non-profits maybe homeowners association or any other business to come and have a free table. Talk about what they do. Connect people that air interested from the community that’s a wonderful way. And often you, khun basically get a free space to just either recruit volunteers or spread organizational visibility. Once you create a presence for yourself and you start going to these types of events and meeting the same people over and over, they’ll say, ok, actually remember seeing this logo. I remember seeing your face, you’re here, and i like it, right, right on dh, there are community organizations, like maybe a chamber of commerce or something, exactly, uh, yeah, okay, karen, i don’t know if you know, gina agrees with very much of what you say, a lot of nodding, i say they work very closely together, we dio, she approves of everything i don’t you don’t not when she speaks, though, so you’re very disapproving of mentally, not idea, so you are okay, we believe you. Okay, okay. Okay, so let’s go online. Who wants to start? Gina, once you start, do you in the middle? Some online strategies you have for recruiting volunteers? Awesome. Fantastic volunteers. Yes. That’s a very good question. So i would say speaking for us at reading partners, we have actually always had our typical social media pieces of facebook, right? And this year our specific region has utilized twitter more. Andi, i think we honestly we have just skim the services to what we can do with our online recruitment on we definitely pay for facebook ads and things of that nature on dh has been extremely helpful. But it’s working it’s working. But you know what the problem is with that is that you need more money in order to make that happen. So it took a while to get some movement on. As soon as we got movement, we realized our budget is depleting. We had to go for the second movement. And now it’s like, what is it going to look like to continue that the ads and things of that nature. Okay, so so you were spending more than fifteen or twenty dollars? Yeah. Yeah, you’re okay. And what does that look like? Way have fourteen regions and we all need ads and our eight regions. And what does that look like for marketing budget? Ok, sorry, so facebook ads, but they’ve been valuable. You most definitely paid off. Yeah, yeah, liza, how about you and multnomah public? Yeah, so we utilise all our social channels as well. So facebook, twitter, instagram also flicker. We post photos there as well, and something that some of our volunteers participating is called a m c l hel p so m c l multnomah county library. Hel p is a selfie that you take while you’re helping or volunteering, right? So, yeah, so we every year we have a summer reading program and to encourage kids to read all year long. And we have eight hundred volunteers close to eight hundred volunteers for that program, ninety percent of which are under the age of eighteen years old, so ninety percent are under eighteen. Yeah, and those are our volunteers. That’s. You know the participants. We have over one hundred ten thousand participants just for the summer reading program. So we were looking for a way to engage our summer reading volunteers. Many of whom have smartphones and want to take selfies, and so we encourage them. Hey, take a selfie while you were at the library hashtag it this or, you know, put it on instagram and show your friends what you’re doing this summer, and so that could be a way to recruit volunteers and get them to you show their their other friends what they’re doing for the summer. What are we doing in the channels in these facebook ads or instagram? Whatever to advertise the the volunteer possibilities, what we what we saying? What are we showing, etcetera? A great regular facebook campaign reading partners, which each week we have a feature called thank you tutor tuesday we feature a picture of the tutoring question and the student they work with if both have photo permission don’t use real names in many instances, but it gives a glimpse into either of them working together or them doing something fun together. Maybe during a spirit week with cem, funny props of what it looks like for them to be volunteers, and also matched that with a quote from them about their volunteer experience that lets them speak from their own perspective and give people that do follow us on social media is chance to say okay, maybe i could do this and work with a student that looks super happy and keep with their tutor. Right? Must be other stuff we could talk about online before we before we go to the next topic. What else? Yes. Oh, at melanoma counting library. We have a monthly volunteers spotlight, which is not a new thing. Many organizations have monthly voluntary spotlights to showcase what their volunteers were doing, and what that is is it doubles as both a recognition tool and a recruitment tool. Because you are recognizing the volunteer by saying, hey, you are so great that we want to talk about you and we want to post you know, this blogger on on our website, and then we share it on our social media channels, but also when other people see that they see oh, that’s, what a volunteer does who you know is teaching a citizenship class or is delivering books toe homebound patrons. I’m interested in that not just learning about somebody else doing that, but maybe i can do that, too. And so it doubles. Is recognition and recruitment excellent, excellent. All right, i like, uh, thank a tutor tuesday. Gotomeeting every partners your own hashtag was that your idea? I think it was a collective decision. Okay, i like i like a little rations. So on this show, i ii send live listener love because show street live, i have podcast pleasantries for the podcast listeners. I’ve affiliate affections for the am and fm station listeners, you know, so i do tony’s take, too. I’m over the moon with, as listeners of the show will know, with a liberation. Okay, uh, well, should we go? There we go offline. Anything else? What? I got online on the networks go online network. So good. I want to say, i don’t know if we even mention this, but we definitely use that reading partners, you know? Volunteermatch and, you know, volunteermatch croup, mint websites get amount of our two shot out. Some of the ones that you use a helpful idea. Why am i drawing a blank? So we definitely is craigslist volunteermatch is an idealist, idealist, idealist. We’ve done volunteer center, which is more local to the francisco bay area, but we’re on many and all, especially more local, more local, you know, centered silicon valley pages. Okay, that’s been a huge help over those who know where to go or choose to go to those kinds of pages for volunteer opportunities right way, use volunteermatch and also hands on greater portland, which is part of the hands on network through points of light and so hands on greater portland is more focused on the portland metro area. Volunteermatch of course, you can search through, you know, different areas, but is more national. And so both are great because with volunteermatch if you get people who moved to portland, we have a lot of people moving to portland, then they already know about volunteermatch from their past community, and so they just switched to portland, and so we find a lot of people who moved to the area are looking through volunteermatch postings and finding us, and even if they’re not interested in the specific position that we’re recruiting for, they will then be drawn to our website, find something else, apply and then become a volunteer. Yeah, you know, i want to mention one more that is it’s probably giving us some success because it’s fairly new it’s next door and for when you’re trying to engage the community when a a current volunteer for us, lives in the community in which we’re serving and they post about it it’s that peer-to-peer but of a larger network of community members that maybe we’d never even touched, which has been a really cool thing to try out. It’s cool, it’s cool. What next? Next door next door? Yeah. Okay. All right. Go. Another one that i haven’t used for recruitment yet, but i have scene people who are seeking volunteer. Opportunities uses read it. So i have a google search alert for anything mentioning volunteermatch portland, oregon and it’s just a way to be aware of what’s going on in the area and sew something will come up and somebody will say post on reddit for the portland read it general think gina likes your ideas about to put it in her notes way steal the best ideas, okay? And and so they you know, they’ll post hey, i’m looking for a volunteer position where can i go? And then people talk about hey, you should try the oregon food bank. You should try free geek, which refurbishes, you know, older computers and gets him into the hands of people who need them. And so those air probably the two that i see most often is is the oregon food bank and freaky, but then other ones will say, oh, well, i’m really wanting to volunteer at an environmental organisations so somebody might recommend friends of trees or something like that, so yeah, and that’s another thing is that with oregon food bank, you can. I’ve personally volunteered there, so i’m a huge fan. I had a birthday party there. I had a fallen bir birthday where i volunteered and then ones on the other side, i think of the first has to be mine, to be funny calling peer-to-peer and so, yeah, so volunteering at the oregon food bank, posting a healthy on twitter and instagram, and then we went to a place called oregon public house, which is a non-profit pub in portland and had beer eso with any of those aiken then go online and say, hey, have you tried oregon food bank? Because they’re great and here’s, why? All right, let’s, just move. Teo some of the partnerships, i think my voice just broke moved too. But thirteen years old. But partnerships you talked about finding and cultivating partnerships. Now we just touched on his very lightly. We’re talking about the possibility of what i mentioned chambers of commerce when you were talking about local organizations. Is there more we can say about finding and cultivating these partnerships? To find volunteers who wants to go wants to volunteer to talk about partnership volunteering opportunities? I can certainly speak briefly more gina’s area of expertise. She’s, right? I shouldn’t say anything quite the experience cultivating partnerships, but it’s important, teo follow-up i don’t know if you need to call it a strict list of partnership planning steps, but haven’t idea of first what you can offer or what your strengths are as an organization, then see what that potential partner can also offer you it’s making sure the relationship is mutually beneficial. If you want to move forward with more of a formal agreement in the future, make sure both parties are really going to get what they want out of it and along the way, sorry, go what types of organizations are we talking about? You have some examples? Yeah, we have one of our strongest partnerships within the silicon valley region of reading partners is with the department at san jose state university here, locally it’s child in the adolescent development and their students who go through several different classes learning about various stages of child development, and they come to us. We have a program tailored to their needs as far as a service learning requirement, and their program it’s little bits is actually tailored to our curriculum and tutoring so local college you could look at college university another example of successful partnership. Organization? Yeah, new partnership we have just going on is with actually a food truck collective that’s all over the basement. Portland. I know, right? Okay. Great terminology around trucks, which you’ve gotten since i was there, but a cluster. What was it? A pod? A pod, right. That’s right apart? Yes, i heard that. It’s a cluster of trucks. You don’t call it a cluster or collection? You call it a pod, but their carts there lorts their carts, not truck that’s, right? That’s why i’m getting that wrong to not trucks the cards, but you would never say i’m going to the part of cards. You would just say i’m goingto just like on the pot. I mean, you might say that, but i wouldn’t wait. Don’t have carts here in silicon valley. Well, their truck’s, but they call them courts, owe their trucks. You put your right thumb and there’s a lot of a lot of times. They’re trailers that really there that you can’t drive them. They just have to hitch onto something. But either way, they’re called the coal carts. I’m going to the cards or the pod, but not the part of cards. Not say that you would be laughed out of portland. Okay, um, we gotta wrap this up in a few. Actually, this one fast. All right. Well, guy’s got about another minute or so let’s focus on the partnerships. What was the one you were just mentioned? The new one you were starting at? It’s called off the grid. Food trucks and group. Yeah, they have a very important emphasis on community in their markets. So we’re able to get an in with one of their markets in san jose. And we’re gonna have a regular appearance at there sunday. Food truck gathering its great. Let me turn the liza. You have any, uh, successful partnership type organisations? Yeah. So, atmel, uma county library. We don’t have too many formal partnerships in terms of volunteer, but we do reach out to our there’s, a local cohort cohort of library students from emporia university. And so they meet here in portland. And so we can send information about different volunteermatch positions that we have for them, and then they can come and get engaged. There’s also? Ah. Library media specialist program. I believe at portland community college. And so we can easily reach out to that college. Okay, so look, a civic organizations is tearing. You were saying like minded organizations where there are potential volunteers. All right, you’re gonna wrap it up. There are ladies cloudgood some excellent unison. Amazing, remarkable panel. Okay, liza dire. I have to turn. I know should with multnomah county library and know that m c l but she’s a cva so divided volunteered ministrations and the program coordinator for volunteers served asses and next to her in the middle is gina roberti, community engagement manager at reading partners and taryn kearns americorps volunteer coordinator also at reading partners. Ladies, thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Excellent. Lots of ideas. That’s a good resource is do i love the tools? Durney martignetti non-profit radio coverage of ntc sixteen the sixteen. Ninety cf courses the hashtag but it all stands for non-profit technology conference in twenty sixteen at the san jose convention center thank you so much for being with us board unity or dissent coming up first pursuant fund-raising like a boss that’s therefore part webinar siri’s starting in january if you like to bake, you could fund-raising like a cake, boss. Your master discovery questions major gift solicitations, prospecting and prioritising and getting your board to fundraise oh, that’s, critical board fund-raising you can’t make all four sessions, no problem, they have you covered. You’ll get the recordings info is at pursuant dot com slash training slash webinar and again it’s called fund-raising like a boss, we’ll be spelling spelling bees for fund-raising are you kicking off millennial engagement in our new year twenty seventeen do it with stand up comedy, live music, dancing and raising money and spelling. Check out the video at we b e spelling dot com now tony steak too. First, i did your trump challenge video. Now this week i have your trump challenge reduction director’s cut and the director’s cut you will find that toluca, the jack russell terrier and i have a challenge for you at your end going forward based on what tallulah and i believe might be in store under a trump presidency to lula has very good insight wait and that’s why i enlarged her part in the reduction director’s cut version both videos, the original and the director’s cut or at toni martignetti dot com and that’s tony’s take two here is jeanne takagi with board unity or descent. Jean takagi. You’re out there, right? I am, honey, i know you are. You’re the managing attorney of neo, the non-profit and exempt organizations law group in san francisco, that’s still true, right? Absolutely. And fire yourself, all right, and you also still edit the popular non-profit low block dot com, and on twitter, you’re at g tak gt a k right, all correct, okay, just like the check. Double check the biographical information every every once in a while. And plus, being an attorney, i don’t like to ask questions that i don’t know the answer to, so i knew that was all correct. All right, gene, we’re talking about unity and dissent on your board this arose from, although we’re not going to nit pick the details of this, but this arose from a university of virginia proposal that that board members silence their descent and there was a little bit shocking for some people to read in the paper when they read about ebba talking about so sad, discouraging or actually prohibiting dissenting board members from publicly expressing their view. And that was just a proposed policy that somehow got released to the public, and some people were very, very upset about it thinking of it a censorship um and that caused them once, you know, the public was made aware of it. There was all sorts of articles in the washington post and other newspapers about it, and they rescinded that part of the proposal, but they kind of added a more common governance spot after about well, you can talk about your descent publicly, we won’t. We won’t chill that from happening, but once a decision is reached by the board. The board members each have a responsibility to ensure that the board’s actions and decisions are successfully implemented. So they really downgraded their initial thought. But it was a a source of a lot of controversy at the time. And i think it’s a really interesting subject. Yeah, i love that. Some dissenter released to the public, the non dissenting policy hyre and that there that’s interesting at virginia. I just this is just a small detail, but they call their board the board of visitors. I thought that was interesting. Hey, i i i do it. Well, i don’t know what the historical artifact of that is, but it is their governing body. Yes. This’ll all go back to the days of this is from thomas jefferson, i think is the founder of via university that’s a little bit ironic and some people’s mind about, right? You know, quenching public dissent? Yeah, this statesmen who spoke out of, um and they’re doing just the opposite. But askew said it turns out they’re not doing it, that that part of the proposal was was killed. There is, in fact, value in diversity and dissent. On aboard, right? Yeah, absolutely way need tohave open discussion. And in a lot of governance, experts will say having a culture that encourages open dissent is actually one of the most important indicators of bored effectiveness, the opposite being, you know, usually a culture of group think and rubber stamping one person’s decision and all just sort of reinforcing, you know, the first point of view that comes up rather than actively debating and thinking about, you know, critically thinking about what would be the best decision of the board amongst all of the possibilities. So so every board vote should not be one hundred percent in a unanimous in fact, it’s you’re saying it’s a good sign if there’s there is disagreement. Yeah, but, you know, from from time to time and that’s, you know, a pet peeve of mine and many other lawyers that work with non-profit boards to see by-laws that say board actions will only be taking taken if there is a unanimous vote in favor of aboard actions. That’s really just chills. You know, the board from discussing, you know, individual boardmember from discussing their dissenting opinions. That’s part of some by-laws of some organizations that has to be a one hundred percent vote. Yeah, after my gosh, she is an uncommon to find consensus. A xero required vote, teo get bored. Action. Well, but consensus could be an easy majority or two thirds or something, but but you see it often that it’s one hundred percent unanimous requirement. Yeah. It’s not uncommon. I wouldn’t. I would i would say, you know, it’s, not the majority of by-laws permit that, but certainly i’ve seen several that that require one hundred percent consensus vote in order to take aboard action, and that is to promote their culture. What they feel like is a culture, a beauty. Mmm. All right, there are ways of dealing with the descent in a in a board discussion on dh valuing the honesty and the openness and the diversity if you just if you just manage and facilitate the conversation yeah, you know, you’re absolutely right. And i think it takes a really skilled chair of the board or whoever is the presiding officer at the board meetings to really encourage that. That dissent without letting it, you know, devolved into infighting and ah, and, uh, a culture where nobody wants to be there, and everybody is apprehensive about showing up at the next board meeting because there is that culture of stress and tension and disagreement. So it is a bit of a balancing act, and i think it actually like many, many things take some exercise. The effort, teo, create that culture of open dissent where, you know, people can descent. This takes place in families too, doesn’t it? Tony, especially in italian cultures, open dissent and at the dinner table, but always mine afterwards. Yeah, i went after the thanksgiving dinner at my cousin’s house. When, when i was walking down the sidewalk in getting into the car to drive home, i realized how quiet it was. I felt like i had been in a springsteen concert for, like, four hours. And then i was back at home and my ears were almost ringing. Yes. So there’s a healthy descent at least among my cacophonous family. Yeah, for sure and my part of the family. And i have ah, through marriage, some italian family as well. And yes, it is this healthy dissenting atmosphere, but it’s very vibrant it’s encouraging of discussion. Um and at the end of the day, they can move forward. So, you know, creating that culture is not necessarily the easiest thing, especially for non-profit board, who may not meet so often like the way family gets to meet andi, everything gets remedy, you know, the next time they have dinner, but when you meet, like once every other month or once every quarter on and that’s, the only time you see these people, you may be a little hesitant about, you know, starting a fight by by presenting a dissenting views. So i think it takes practice. And, you know, one way you might practise is and there’s some dangers to this as well. But in short, formal, just say creating a doubles advocate for a particular issues, you know, in a particular issue, maybe where the board all sees the thing, you know, in the same light and would all vote unanimously in favor of it. Maybe at that time assigning one person to just raise issues and take the other part and encouraging discussion to see what happens. And you may end up with still the same opinion, but ah aboard that’s learned to discuss things a little bit more. Vigorously and critically look att issues and weigh conflicting viewpoints. There’s a policy governance model from interestingly, from a married couple, the carvers that has some very good ideas for howto manage this whole process and maintain good governance. Yeah, and they’re they’re aspects of the carver policy governance model that i really like and and it is a model that encourages discussion, even passionate disagreement, i think they say to rip represent the diversity on the board, hopefully the diversity in all kinds of ways, on the board, with different perspectives in different ways of looking at things. But i think part of the model says is once you’ve made a vote, you know whether it’s a unanimous vote or if it’s a five for a slim majority vote and that’s enough to take board action, the ceo and the staff have got to treat it the same way. It’s a board decision in favor of going a certain direction and that’s what needs to be implemented. And so the carver model goes on to say, you know, if a boardmember two cents, you know, with that, well, you should absolutely record that descent. So in a five, four vote, you’ll record those who have presented their dissenting opinions, not necessarily by name. However, if they don’t want their name to be to be entered into there, if they’re minutes or public, they may feel that that might chill future board discussion if they’re not in the majority. So, you know, it could just indicate that there was a five four vote and anybody who wants to be on record as dissenting should have their name recorded otherwise, maybe not, but if if the if you do disagree with it and you want to go out and publicly say it, we don’t chill that process, you let them say that, but they’ve got to balance that with a duty of confidentiality, so they have to make sure that they’re not releasing confidential information out there. They have to be careful of not chilling board participation in future discussions. So if they go, you know, john smith disagreed with me, and he came up with all sorts of terrible arguments in favor of that. Well, that’s not going to be a healthy way to descend, you know, naming out individual board members who disagreed with you and, you know, taking down their argument without the chance for them to present the side. And then i think what’s important about the carver model. The balance is that if a boardmember disagrees, they should go on to say, on the record, whoever they’re speaking out to in the public, that the process used by the board with proper so they disagreed, but they were in the minority. But the process used was proper to get all those things out there and that hopefully we’ll create a good culture of open dissent and ability to expect dissenting views in public without harming the organization. All right, there was a lot in there that this is getting into the details. Very interesting of of good governance, right? I mean, a lot of times we talk about good governance and it stops with well, you should have a conflict of interest policy. You have a whistle blower policy document retention. But this is getting into the process of board meetings that create good governance and proper oversight. Yeah. And you know, onboarding typically take actions that board meeting. So how boardmember things air run? How their chairs, what type of discussions you choose toe have. Board meetings when in the meeting do you take your, you know, place your most important discussions? Maybe it shouldn’t be approving the board minutes right at the front where everybody, you know has the energy to vigorously discuss important issues. Maybe that gets put in the back. So prioritizing what you’re goingto, you know, discussed at the board meetings and creating that culture of open descent and possibly allowing everybody toe argue different points beforehand, circulating that in the board agenda and sort of meeting prep materials would be a very good and healthy way to get bored to be able to discuss the most important things to the organization because boards are ultimately in charge of the organization. You mentioned the agenda, and this ah, this carver policy governance model, which, by the way, you’ll find it. Carver governance dot com has something to say about the agenda who should be creating the board agenda because that could that could be a source of of dissension also is what belongs on our agenda for the month or whatever. For the for the meeting. Yeah, that’s, that’s absolutely true. I don’t actually, i’m not familiar with how, how carver’s model treats who will create the what’s? What typically done is is bored chairs. After conferring with the executive, the executive director’s, ceo of the organization developed the agenda. But i think knowing what i do about policy governance, it is openly encourage other board members to chime in as the chair developed the agenda. Ah, figure out what topics are most important to the organization and figuring out at that point how to proceed with finalizing the agenda and the meeting materials beforehand on dh that’s, very consistent with what carver recommends in there in there model, which is that the board developed its agenda. Not that the ceo create the agenda for the board. Yeah. You know, that’s, uh, i don’t wantto go too far off, but that’s sort of the problem with when the board acts by written consent because whoever drafts that that consent and circulates it is possibly planted just one point of view and argued only one side of it. And that can be very persuasive. And nobody has had a chance to look at the other side. So developing an agenda with only one point of view can make things look very, very. One sided in developing organisation melkis rubber stamped the chairs decision. Okay, we’re going to go out for a break for a few minutes. You mentioned a consent agenda for the break you’re in, george, in jail for that, and we come back. I’ll offer you a quick, a quick parole stay with us. Like what you’re hearing a non-profit radio tony’s got more on youtube, you’ll find clips from stand up comedy tv spots and exclusive interviews catch guests like seth gordon. Craig newmark, the founder of craigslist marquis of eco enterprises, charles best from donors choose dot org’s aria finger, do something that worked neo-sage levine from new york universities heimans center on philantech tony tweets to he finds the best content from the most knowledgeable, interesting people in and around non-profits to share on his stream. If you have valuable info, he wants to re tweet you during the show. You can join the conversation on twitter using hashtag non-profit radio twitter is an easy way to reach tony he’s at tony martignetti narasimhan t i g e n e t t i remember there’s a g before the end he hosts a podcast for the chronicle of philanthropy fund-raising fundamentals is a short monthly show devoted to getting over your fund-raising hartals just like non-profit radio, toni talks to leading thinkers, experts and cool people with great ideas. As one fan said, tony picks their brains and i don’t have to leave my office fund-raising fundamentals was recently dubbed the most helpful non-profit podcast you have ever heard. You can also join the conversation on facebook, where you can ask questions before or after the show. The guests were there, too. Get insider show alerts by email, tony tells you who’s on each week and always includes link so that you can contact guess directly. To sign up, visit the facebook page for tony martignetti dot com. I’m dana ostomel, ceo of deposit, a gift. And you’re listening to tony martignetti non-profit radio. Big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. I’ve got more live listener to love to send out ottawa on ontario, canada, ottawa, the capital city of canada welcome live listener lived to ottawa in china we’ve got coming. Ni hao my first guest, gail bauer, did some work in china for the great wall foundation. I believe it is. I know she did work with a couple of clients in china. We’ve got hanoi, vietnam, we’ve got turkey, germany and seoul, south korea on yo haserot turkey and germany. I’m sorry, we can’t see your cities your mask, but we know that your country is represented live listener love to you and naturally podcast pleasantries, everybody listening in the time shift wherever the heck you maybe arjun takagi the you didn’t actually say the phrase consent agenda. I put that together for you and locked you up in george in jail. But you said consent and you were referring to agenda, so i’ll give you half a break. So could we explain what consent agenda is sure, andi, you know, i didn’t realize that i did not say that i thought i was accused and i was guilty, okay, but i don’t think we’re buy-in consent agenda. Is basically a group of routine, typically procedural, self explanatory, noncontroversial decisions that the board has to make, like approving the minutes of the last meeting, approving committee actions that were very non controversial and it’s done all in one action. So rather than going through them one by one and having a lot of discussion about each one if they don’t deserve that discussion, it’s just something that should have been read before the meeting it’s all presented on the consent agenda, one person moves to adopt it, it gets seconded, approved and then it’s done and you don’t have to spend, you know, half to your board meeting talking about thes routine on controversial board actions that everybody should have read beforehand and instead of, you know, having them read it at at the meeting and wasting everybody’s time. Thank you very much. Probation granted a parole parole granted program when how do we know when a boardmember has gone too far? You suggested that its fine for board members to speaking descent as long as they’re they’re not speaking on behalf of the board and they and they say that. But when does the boardmember go, too? Far, yeah. I wish i had one easy answer to that. And i think i mentioned before, you know, balancing against being a balancing that openness against the duty of confidentiality. So not giving away any confidential information and also not harming any individual on the board or sabotaging, if you will, the board action that ultimately was taken by majority vote, even though you were dissenting on it. So if you try to unwind and unwrap it, that that’s probably not acting in the best interest of the organization could harm the organization and their four year breaching your fiduciary duties. But exactly when when you cross the line is not always clear, for example. And if you thought the boarded approved an unlawful action, both well, it’s going to be you do need to speak out. And at worst case, you need to bring it to the attention of ah, the authorities in much more common cases. Maybe it’s something if you if you feel very strongly about that, you send a private letter out each boardmember and the ceo. And if somebody asks you about it, you just say you disagreed with it vigorously. But the process used again was proper, and a majority voted the other way. And if you really can’t live with that decision, think about resigning from the board, okay, the private letter to the individual boardmember is that’s an interesting approach, but that’s discreet but still could be very firm, right? And i think it allows you to state your argument in a way that you can get all your points across the way you might not be able to do at a board meeting when you know everybody’s interrupting each other and there’s this vigorous discussion amongst, you know, five, ten, fifteen, twenty people all trying to chime in in a short amount of time. Would you be asking if you felt that strongly about something for the board to reconsider its decision and have the discussion again at another board meeting? If it’s the type of decision that can be reconsidered, maybe it’s something that’s going to be? Ah, a strategic ah plan for the future and not a contract that has already been signed on dh where you can’t back out of it. If it’s something that far off enough that the board decision can be reversed in the organization can change course without any harm, and then yes, i think the board can reconsider it if if they didn’t get a chance to hear your arguments, perhaps because the board meeting cut short and didn’t give a chance give you the opportunity to put out all your points that you thought were very important, sending it in a board letter, at least to the chair of the board. But but possibly toto, all board members and and the executive might might be the right thing to do. Do you see money? Occasions? And we just have about a minute and a half left where an outside facilitator could be valuable for for these these kinds of difficult discussions in board meetings. Yeah, you know, i think when when the board starts to disagree each other and creates this culture, not only have open dissent but of open ah hostility, yeah. So just where they can stand each other anymore, i think you really need to get a facilitator to help. Ah, figure out the process and howto get boardmember to understand their different viewpoints. You also have tio select board members very carefully, not only for for their diversity and skills and backgrounds, but also for their ability. Teo operate in a culture that that encourages dissent on where they they’re not afraid to speak out, even if they may not be in the majority view point. That’s, that’s really important in our democracy on, certainly in aboard as well. My voice just went up like a high school girl like you often voice cracked like a fourteen year old, and i do that all the time. No, but it is very important. That’s, a very, very interesting point two to bring in the recruitment process, the not only the skill that you might be seeking real estate attorney, whatever, but fitting into the culture of the organization and the culture of the board. Yeah, i i think that could even be a valid statement for the organisation when it when it, you know, think about all of the valleys that it wants to to promote is encouraging dissenting views as a core governance or organizational values. Okay, jean, we’re gonna leave it there. I want to thank you very much. You will find jeans, blawg at non-profit law blogged dot com and on twitter, you’ll find him at g tack again. Jean, thanks so much. Thank you. You have a happy holiday. Thank you very much. You two we’ll talk next month next week seven security pitfalls. They’re not sexy, but they are very important. If you missed any part of today’s show, i beseech you, find it on tony martignetti dot com responsive by pursuing online tools for small and midsize non-profits data driven and technology enabled, and by we be spelling supercool spelling bee fundraisers we b e spelling dot com ah, creative producers claire meyerhoff. Sam liebowitz is the line producer. Gavin doll is our am and fm outreach director shows social media is by susan chavez, and this cool music is by scott stein. Be with me next week for non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent go out and be great. 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