Why Nonprofit Groups Need Better Communication With Their Boards

June 13, 2010, 01:23 PM ET

Why Nonprofit Groups Need Better Communication With Their Boards

By Jacquelyn Kasuya

New York

When an organization’s board isn’t living up to its potential, how many board members know they are falling short?

In tough economic times, it is more important than ever for nonprofit leaders to be honest with their board members, said Henry Goldstein, president of the Oram Group.

Mr. Goldstein, speaking at a conference held by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in New York on Friday, said organizations need to let their board members know when they are not fulfilling their fund-raising goals.

Too often, however,that does not happen.

To make such messages effetive, nonprofit leaders must offer  goals that are reasonable, he said. He noted that board members lose heart quickly when confronted with tasks they cannot fulfill and said it is the nonprofit organization’s responsibility to set clear, reachable goals.

In setting those goals, nonprofit leaders need to get to know their board members better, said Mary Ellen Pelzer, chief executive of the South Street Seaport Museum. One way to do this is by getting to know what their daily life is like and the kind of things that motivate them.

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