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Spring Cleaning in the Board Room: Planting the Seeds for a Fully Engaged B...

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Support Center

32 Old Slip

24th Floor

New York, NY 10005

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If you’re new to serving on a board, you may not even know what you don’t know. And if you’ve been on a board for a long time or you support your organization’s board of directors, it’s likely that part of your job is onboarding new members and keeping the board up-to-date on key roles and responsibilities.

The purpose of the 2018 Nonprofit Board Refresh (and thanks to the NY Department of Youth and Community Development for sponsoring the event) is to address a number of key governance issues in one day-long conference. We will highlight current best practices in fundraising and performance measurement, lessons learned from the field, and trends in effective nonprofit board leadership, board recruitment and retention. The premise is that good governance is an essential ingredient for strong nonprofits working efficiently and effectively to address critical needs in our communities.

The opening session will highlight key trends in nonprofits and philanthropy in the NY region with implications for nonprofit boards. And we’ll keep things fun and engaging with case studies and experiential and interactive learning approaches. We hope you will join us for this day-long conference to hear lessons learned and gain access to invaluable tools of the trade in good governance.

Featured Organizations: Support Center, Foundation Center, Cause Effective and Lawyers Alliance


08:30 AM - 09:00 AM: Registration

09:00 AM: Opening remarks and welcome

09:15 AM: Opening panel

10:15 AM: Break

10:30 AM: First concurrent sessions: Lawyers Alliance and Foundation Center

12:00 PM: Networking lunch and office hour

01:00 PM: Second concurrent sessions: Support Center and Cause Effective

02:30 PM: Governance brainstorm: What do NYC nonprofit boards need more of?

03:00 PM: Adjourn

Breakout sessions:

Board Roles and Responsibilities: Are We Getting Clearer About Legal Obligations?

Time: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

A well-functioning nonprofit has a good understanding of the legal framework nonprofit governance. This workshop will address the obligations and best practices for Board oversight and involvement in nonprofit governance. Topics will include fiduciary responsibilities of the board, legally mandated roles and key documents for establishing a solid legal foundation for good governance.

Key takeaways will include:

  • Understanding of what governance provisions are legally mandated, and which can be tailored to your organization

  • Working knowledge of the key provisions of governance documents

  • Ways to use governance mechanism to enable quality engagement off board members

Presenter: Elizabeth Perez, Lawyers Alliance for New York

Your Board and Fundraising: Engaging Boards in the Fundraising Process

Time: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Engaging your board in fundraising can be a challenging experience, even when board members recognize that a primary responsibility of any nonprofit board is ensuring that the organization has the resources it needs to meet its mission. This session will look at current trends in board fundraising and how to create a board that is engaged and invested in the organization’s fundraising efforts.

Key Takeaways

  • The role of the board in fundraising and as ambassadors for the organization

  • Various ways the board can participate in the fundraising process

  • How to overcome board member concerns regarding fundraising

  • Tips for strengthening your board’s fundraising

Presenter: Kate Amanna Demcsak and Susan Shiroma, Foundation Center

Assessing the Effectiveness of Nonprofit Boards: Are We Doing Any Better?

Time: 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

This session is a starting point for NYC nonprofits thinking about their board development needs. It includes findings from national studies as well as feedback from local organizations regarding their current challenges. It can be difficult to know where to turn for information, and this session is designed to answer four main questions and provide additional resources to turn to: What are the basic responsibilities of nonprofit boards and their chairs and is this changing; What are the key challenges and opportunities confronting nonprofit boards; What are the best practices NYC nonprofits should engage in to develop their boards; and What do we need to know to improve our board.

Learning Goals and Takeaways

  • Gain a clear understanding of new research in the field

  • Hear from others about the challenges their boards are facing

  • Remain current with the leading thinking in the field

  • Identify materials and messages to bring back to your board and concrete next steps

Presenter: Keith Timko, Support Center

Recruiting Board Members As Change Agents: Are We Preparing Our Newest Board Members to Succeed?

Time: 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Nonprofits often take a messianic view toward the arrival of new board members. They hope new arrivals will bring fresh energy, ideas, and networks to break the cycle of 'been there, done that' that can pervade meetings of long-standing boards of directors. How can we assure that our newest board members act as our allies for change, right from the start, raising the bar for board engagement instead of settling in at the lowest common denominator? At this workshop, we will share strategies for firing up new recruits, integrating them into the board team so as to make their enthusiasm willingness to take action infectious.

Key takeaways will include:

  • Ways to identify and recruit board members

  • Strategies for firing up new board recruits and integrating them into the board team

  • Laying the foundation for a successful board recruitment process

Presenter: Greg Cohen and Cynthia Reddrick, Cause Effective

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Support Center

32 Old Slip

24th Floor

New York, NY 10005

View Map

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