Key Factors for Driving Board Development

Tue, January 17, 2012 10:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

By Jane Page-Steiner, President, JPS Nonprofit Strategies

Last year I attended the National BoardSource conference in Orlando, while there I met board researcher, Mary Hiland, Ph.D of Hiland Associates.  Recently she shared with me the results of a small study she conducted with nonprofit boards.  The study focused on the life cycle of boards and board development.  While this was a small study I think it produced some interesting preliminary findings. 
Study participants identified three critical factors that influenced or drove board development and change: 

1.Outside governance expertise or training– a “nudge” during a facilitated board training or a board member attendance at an outside training contributed to a new vision of the board.

2. The Board Chair- critical in creating (or inhibiting) movement and building momentum for change, in partnership with the executive director. The board chair usually engaged a few other board members, building a small group of champions for change.

3. Intention- Study participants described a specific, articulated intention to develop the board: ”We were obsessed with board development.” “Status quo was not OK.”


Is your board producing the results you need to achieve your organizational goals and mission?  Does your board understand the needs of the organization and have the ability to work as a collective group to plan and implement strategies?   Does your organization help each board member to bring their best skills, connections and resources to the organization?  

What have been your experiences with your board? 


Jane is the first presenter in the DSAIA Board Development Webinar Series which begins tonight (Jan 17th) at 8 pm Eastern.  Tonight’s presentation is entitled “Board Development 101”.  DSAIA members are encouraged to register their entire board for this valuable training.  Attendees who complete all six sessions will receive a Certificate of Completion.  Registrations will be taken until 30 minutes prior to the webinar.  To register or to see the complete list of topics in the series, go to 


You can also attend one of her presentations at the upcoming DSAIA conference in DC Feb 29-Mar 3, 2012.  To view the sessions, go to


Visit Jane’s website at, follow her on Twitter at!/jpsnonprofit, or visit her Facebook page at!/JPSNonprofit.  


I want to tell you what WONDERFUL time I had at the conference. I learned so much and came away with lots of ideas for our organization. -Barb Waddle, The Upside of Downs of Northeast Ohio


Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action started as a conference bringing together outstanding leadership from Down syndrome organizations around the country. Learn More

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