In my experience, people on nonprofit boards almost always act with good will; they become disappointed or frustrated, however, when roles are unclear, and that can bring about tension. Under such circumstances, the board can get stuck. When the board underperforms, so does the organization; the community suffers.
To begin with, many of you did plenty. If you’re reading this post, then it’s likely that you’re active in social media. Public attention to recent nonprofit board scandals, as well as robust participation via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media has been influential in the cases of Penn State, University of Virginia, and the Komen Foundation. There were financial and reputational consequences for organizations led by people who made bad decisions.
The nonprofit board scandals of the past year are highly distressing: revealing everything from complete board dysfunction in the firing of the CEO at the University of Virginia, to the cover-up of criminal behavior at Penn State, to policy decisions that arguably destroyed Komen's leading nonprofit brand. In all three cases, the financial and reputational losses are quite severe. People to be served by the mission and outsiders have been harmed, the victims at Penn State devastatingly so.
According to surveys by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, nonprofits face growing financial pressures while also experiencing greater demands for services. At the same time, there are new funding opportunities for nonprofits, including corporations seeking to advance social and environmental purposes as well as investors and new philanthropists.
"Without question, I'm far more likely to hire MBA graduates who have had management consulting experience in emerging markets over graduates who have not," said Amit Sinha, Head of Database and Technology Marketing at SAP.
As an employer who hires graduates from many MBA programs, Sinha himself took advantage of the International Business Development program when he was a graduate student himself several years ago at the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley.
"Business strategy and social impact are a powerful combination, especially when companies fully align and integrate the two," says Barry Salzberg, the newly named chairman of the board of United Way Worldwide (UWW) and global chief executive officer at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL).
The changing information needs of both stakeholders and companies are redefining the role of corporate communications departments and professionals including community, investor, government, and employee relations. Companies are recognizing that increasingly savvy – some would say cynical – audiences are becoming more and more discerning about messages that corporations are sharing.
There continues to be upheaval emanating from the board rooms of major nonprofit institutions, including The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Penn State, and the University of Virginia. The facts will emerge over time as various perspectives are shared and evidence is revealed and examined. In the meantime, boards must realize that bad practices of old are no longer tolerated in this era where very little can be hidden from the public eye.
The 2012 Global Peace Index was released this week. This annual study of relative peacefulness and stability, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, found that in spite of some unfortunate pockets of strife and unrest (think Syria and Somalia), the world is more peaceful today than it has been since 2009.
“We will have achieved success when people at the ‘base of the pyramid’ have access to quality products at competitive prices,” said Alvaro Rodriguez Arregui, managing partner at IGNIA, an impact-investing venture capital firm based in Monterrey, Mexico.
Recently, I interviewed Tom Scott, Director of Global Brand and Innovation at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Aaron Koblin, Creative Director of the Data Arts Team at Google Creative Lab, on Grand Challenges Explorations: Aid is Working.
We each have our own favorite memories from the Olympic Games -- whether it be Jessie Owens demonstrating the absurdity of Adolf Hitler's racist notions, gymnast Nadia Comaneci's perfect "10"s, Kerri Strugg's valiant vault on a sprained ankle to win gold or Michael Phelps' eight gold medals.
This month, Beth and Zoe celebrate the official one-year anniversary of Hale Advisors, inc. – a partnership that stemmed from shared savvy business acumen and a similar vision for company growth and success.
As a way to commemorate, it was decided that a company off-site was in order. And what better way for a women owned and operated business to celebrate than to attend the Women for Women International* Annual Luncheon in New York City?