With 2015 almost upon us, we thought we should take a minute and look back at the media relations results our team generated for a few of our clients in 2014, and what better way to capture a whole year of work than through an infographic?
Service on a nonprofit board is a high calling and a vital responsibility. The mission focus of a nonprofit organization creates a clear pathway for board service – a pathway that fundamentally requires three attributes of board members. To be sure, excellent board members demonstrate many key qualities, and in my decades of service on nonprofit boards of many sizes and forms, these three have emerged as essential for those who truly desire to fulfill their calling.
1. Understand the mission. When board members take time to probe the organization’s mission, seeking to understand why the organization exists, who it serves and how it serves, the board is positioned effectively to lead in vision-setting and strategy development. Understanding the mission means learning the organization’s history and becoming familiar with the staff and operation.
2. Be present. Presence is central to board work. Being present takes many forms, and board members who intentionally take time to be present in the following ways are better equipped to participate in board decision-making:
- Show up at every board meeting. Read the packet sent ahead of time, and come with questions that point to strategy and vision.
- Carve out time to participate in key programs, or to observe one or two customer-facing events each year. Witnessing the work builds connections and increases understanding.
- Engage with any and all who share in the mission – customers, donors, partners, staff and volunteers. You’ll get closer to the heartbeat of the organization.
3. Speak wisely. The place to speak as an individual, with opinions and ideas, is in a board meeting. Once the board has arrived at a decision, individual voices fade, and the single, unified voice of the board is the only one that counts – and the only one that advances mission. For example, board members who contact staff to share ideas, point out solutions or offer direction, however well-intentioned, only undermine the significance of the board’s decision and confuse staff.
Have you been given the high calling of service on a nonprofit board? Embrace it for all it’s worth – it’s worth a lot – and focus on mission, presence and wise speech. You’ll be effective both inside and outside the board room.
Beth Fredrickson, Sr. PR Counselor, and Advocate for Excellence in Nonprofit Board Governance
It’s that time of year again! The holiday season can really change work environments – for retail, it’s more hectic; for us in public relations, it’s more relaxed, and for most, it’s more charitable.
Many companies try to give back during the holidays. Whether it’s a full-blown cause marketing campaign or a simple food drive within your office or building, giving back not only makes one feel good by helping others, it also can improve your company’s image and sometimes bottom line.
According to Edelman’s annual goodpurpose study, almost half (47 percent) of consumers have bought a brand at least monthly that supports a cause. Many larger corporations leverage their charitable efforts as a means to raise awareness for their brand or a new product. Going outside of your place of work to give back also is an opportunity to network, build relationships and possibly gain clients.
Here are some fun ways to give back this holiday season:
- Food, Book or Clothing Drive – Host a drive in your office with your employees, or if you’re really ambitious with all of the people in your building.
- Secret Santa – Employees draw a fellow coworker’s name out of a bowl and buy a toy that reminds them of that coworker. After everyone sees what was bought, donate the toys to a nearby toy drive.
- Volunteer – As an office, volunteer at a local shelter or food pantry.
- Donate – Whether your donation is money, time or resources, there are many organizations and people that could benefit from your office’s group donation.
This year, we are giving back by holding a children’s book drive in our building for two weeks. We put bins in the lobbies of our building to collect gently used and new children’s book. We are donating all of the books to our local community health center and client. Many of the children in the population it serves don’t have access to their own books, and through our book collection, we hope to change that.
What will you and your coworkers do this holiday season to give back?