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A Message From Terry


Towards the end of December and into January, I asked a number of clients and other contacts for their opinions on trends and predictions for 2015. I received some excellent feedback, as well as one overwhelming concern. I will leave this major concern to the end of this newsletter…

Here are the top predictions:

  • There will be a greater number of mergers and unifications within our sector.
  • Boards that are too large will continue to decrease in size.
  • Demographic shifts will assist boards to ensure even greater succession planning.
  • Chief Staff Officer 2015 compensation increases will average in the 2-3% range (see the note below).
  • Voluntary membership-based organizations will increase in size by 4% on average.
  • Many more Boards will make shaky shifts from Operational Boards to Policy Boards.
  • Further government funding cutbacks affecting the nonprofit sector will be announced.

Terry Clark

Alligators in the Boardroom and Urban Legends about Nonprofits

An influential but under-the-radar form of popular culture is the urban legend. Like the mythic alligators in the New York sewers or the man who woke up in an ice-filled bathtub without a kidney, nonprofits are the victims of urban myths and legends. Common assumptions -- just by being passed along through so many people -- gain a measure of credibility just by their frequent telling and longevity. This Board Cafe article may be useful for your fellow board members, your neighbors, and others. Read More

Did You Know?

  • 10% of all nonprofit Chief Staff Officers leave their position each year.
  • 40% of them (of those who admit it) claim it resulted from stressful Board/CSO relations.
  • 72% of all Association employees are over 45 years of age.
  • 51% of nonprofit Chief Staff Officers admitted to being burnt out or nearly burnt out.
  • 85% of Chief Staff Officers do not believe their organizations can succeed in the future without innovation.

*Results based on a 2014 survey of 836 Chief Executive Staff Officers across Canada.

Closing Thoughts

Some of you will agree with these statistics, others may say the list is much like last year. I do agree that it is quite similar to 2014. The greatest concern from Boards and Chief Staff Officers alike, is a shaky or unworkable transition from an Operational Board to a Policy Board. Too many times this transition has been lead by well-meaning individual(s) that could do with some more experience, or are following a textbook model that may not relate to the organization's best interests. Other times the Board may not have fully ‘bought into’ the new model. Sometimes it is seen as the Chief Staff Officer moving forward with their own agenda.

For the most part, the transitions do need to move from operational to policy/hybrid or to collaborative. If the individuals you are planning on working with are not experienced in either of these two models, you could be heading down the wrong road.

If your Board has recently made a transition and it didn’t work out the way you’d like, let’s discuss your options. Give me a call at 604-737-9992.

About Terry Clark

Terry J. Clark CAE, the Founder and President of Real Board Solutions is a results-oriented, not-for-profit professional who has a unique background and skill set that volunteer board members and their staff truly appreciate.

For the past 19 years Terry has advised hundreds of not-for-profit Boards of Directors and their senior staff members. As past Executive Director with a high profile business association, Terry has also served as an interim Executive Director with eight organizations.

His consulting practice focuses on executive search, Board development, strategic planning, operational reviews, executive director compensation and mentorship/coaching. He has provided those services to not-for-profits in virtually every not-for-profit sector in Western Canada, North West Territories, the Yukon and California.

Terry is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), a Past Area Governor of Toastmasters International and was educated at the University of British Columbia. He possesses leading-edge Non Profit "best practices" and combines them with real life experiences to provide not-for-profits Boards and their staff with real solutions.

In 2013 the Canadian Society of Association Executives presented Terry with the prestigious ACE Award (Association Cornerstone of Excellence) in the ‘Above and Beyond’ Category.

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