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Banking on Good Ideas for Nonprofit Boards

Banking on Good Ideas for Nonprofit Boards
Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wednesday morning, part of the ECCF team hit the road, coffee in hand, and traveled up 1A from Danvers to Newburyport for a Center for Nonprofit Excellence workshop. The Newburyport Five Cent Savings Bank in historic downtown Newburyport graciously hosted the workshop

Over 60 nonprofit pros came to hear Jay Caporale, ECCF’s Executive Vice President & Director of Philanthropy, talk about recruiting and building a nonprofit board. There were folks from food pantries, museums, even schools, some who’d received a Fund for Nonprofit Excellence Award, such as Our Neighbor’s Table in Amesbury and the Elevated Thought Foundation in Methuen. A handful of other nonprofits, such as The Beverly Children’s Learning Center and Lifebridge in Salem also sent a couple of representatives to the “sold-out” free workshop.

They asked a range of lively questions, from, “How many board members is best?” to “Should we meet in the morning or evening?”  And Jay asked questions too, such as why some boards met as often as they did.

“Frankly, I have no idea,” one woman answered. So they bounced ideas off one another, learning best practices along the way. Jay offered one particularly huge—but often overlooked—piece of advice: “Stop doing things just ‘because we’ve always done it this way’ and start asking questions!”

Kelly Gray of the Newburyport Art Association says she begged her way onto the waitlist and took advantage of a last-minute opening to participate.

“This workshop was perfect for board development. There were so many nonprofits in the room. It was great to hear about their successes and failures,” said Kelly. “We want to be moving forward and not reinventing the wheel.”

—Carissa Collins

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