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2/5/2016 12:00 AM

Phillip Blount, President, Phillip Blount & Associates, Inc., said the CEO can provide the board with comparison data from for-profit companies when the board sets her salary, but she should heed these cautions when doing so:

  • Start by focusing on nonprofit comparison data. “It’s safest to do this,” Blount said. “Once you’ve established the compensation is reasonable, then sprinkle in some for-profit data.”
  • Match business demographics carefully. To use for-profit comparison data, take care to match the size of the organizations, Blount said. For instance, if your organization has a $25 million budget, use comparison salary data from for-profit companies of a similar budget size.

Phillip Blount, President, Phillip Blount & Associates, Inc., said the CEO can provide the board with comparison data from for-profit companies when the board sets her salary, but she should heed these cautions when doing so:

  • Start by focusing on nonprofit comparison data. “It’s safest to do this,” Blount said. “Once you’ve established the compensation is reasonable, then sprinkle in some for-profit data.”
  • Match business demographics carefully. To use for-profit comparison data, take care to match the size of the organizations, Blount said. For instance, if your organization has a $25 million budget, use comparison salary data from for-profit companies of a similar budget size.

More tips on making salary comparison data appropriate:

  • Use multiple sources. Blount said to include local sources in the data you provide to the board, along with same national data. “Use reputable sources,” he said.
  • Match size and type of the organization as closely as you can. If your organization is faith-based, pull your comparison data from other faith-based nonprofits, Blount said.
  • Provide the board with data that shows total compensation. “Take into account the total compensation to be paid now and in the future when the board is doing a comparative analysis of the executive’s compensation,” Blount said.

For information, www.phillipblount.com.

Board Roles & Responsibilities
1/29/2016 12:00 AM

Board involvement in day-to-day management decisions can land the executive director and organization in hot water, said Board & Administrator-For Administrators Only Editor, Jeff Stratton.

A New York exec called the Hotline this month with a dicey board problem. He was in the midst of soliciting bids for a building expansion AFTER asking board members if they had names of any contractors he might approach. The board didn’t — at that time.

The administrator collected three bids and made his presentation to the board along with his recommendation. At this meeting, one board member said, “Hey, why don’t you call my buddy John the Builder?”

“That put everything on hold,” the executive director said. He called the contractor up and received a bid $5,000 higher than the one he recommended to the board. “My board member thinks the quality of his friend’s construction will be worth the higher cost,” he said. “Now, I’m playing board politics.”

One of the problems with obtaining board involvement is that you can find yourself in sticky situations like this. Why didn’t the board member give you the name of his contact when asked? Who knows?

Now, the administrator is being told how to do his job, after he’s done his job properly. When a board member takes advantage of his “clout” to tell you how to do your job, the rest of the board needs to support you — and let you manage the daily workings of the organization. If the full board doesn’t do this, then you are forced into a position of making good management decisions for the organization, or retaining the support of a board member. Not fair, but that’s the reality.

Board Chairman
1/28/2016 12:00 AM

How you communicate with your chair depends on your read of that relationship, suggests Board & Administrator Editor Jeff Stratton.

Question for The Board Doctor: “My board chair wants to know why one staff person quit (under pressure) and why we fired one staff member,” says an Alaskan executive director. “These two staff back-to-back held the same position in a department with recent turnover. I said I understand his concern, but that I can’t disclose personnel issues.”

Answer: You might discuss personnel matters with your chair for multiple reasons. You might share issues about personnel or employee discipline with the board chair to talk about how much the board should be told. The reason you would do this is not because you want the board to get involved in a personnel matter, but in the event the situation requires board action, the board can still be impartial to whatever issue is before them.

What you share with the chair can really be dependent on many factors. It could be the nonprofit’s custom to share all information with board officers (chairs often work their way up from another position on the board). It can be affected by your personal relationship with the chair and how much trust you have in him or her.

This might also be a situation where you really need to “read your chair” to determine where his interest is coming from. If he’s just interested, share the facts about why someone left or was terminated. He’s then in the know about what happened and how much to share with the full board.

The chair should be your ally, and you build a “no surprises” type of relationship by sharing information like this with the board’s leader.

But there is another issue to consider with this dilemma: If the chair, in your opinion, is looking for this information for some reason you are not comfortable with (e.g., he has a back channel to staff operating), then I would not be as forthcoming. Instead, share your concerns with an ally on the board or the other board officers. It’s really your call as to what your sixth sense is telling you.

Keep in mind when it comes to communication that “more” is usually much better for the board-and-administrator relationship than “less.”

If Jane is taking maternity leave, it does no harm to let the board know this. If Jack is taking early retirement, the board should know.

Resources
1/15/2016 12:00 AM

This chart from Board & Administrator Editor Jeff Stratton provides guidance on roles for the board and staff.


Resource
11/20/2015 12:00 AM

A Hendersonville, N.C., board uses the following agenda format to run its meetings in 90 minutes.

Executive Director David Cook (Hendersonville, N.C.) and his board use the following format for their board meetings. Cook said that board meetings begin at 3:30 p.m. and seldom go past 5:00 p.m.

Editor’s note: One item I would suggest adding to a board meeting agenda is time for board members to engage in strategic thinking about the challenges facing the organization, possible opportunities and board member updates on interactions with stakeholders and the community. By building this into each meeting agenda, the board gets to work on the organization’s strategic needs and substantive challenges. By doing this, the executive director is also subtly training them to work on matters that fall under the board’s role and responsibilities.

AGENDA

Interfaith Assistance Ministry Board of Directors

Tuesday August 25, 2015

BUSINESS MEETING

Call to Order—Sherri M.

Continuing Education Presentation: Housing Assistance Corporation—Noelle M., executive director.

Devotion—Sherri M.

Approval of Board Minutes for June 23, 2015

Consent Agenda—Minutes of Executive, Finance Committees; Taste of Hendersonville, Congregational Support, New Facility and Capital Campaign Subcommittees; Executive Director July Report, Grants Update, Contacts and Publicity and Statistical Reports.

Items coming out of committees for full board approval:

Executive/New Facility Subcommittee: Recommendation to approve Einar S. as IAM Owner’s Representative and Rick M. as First Alternate for New Facility construction.

Executive/Capital Campaign Subcommittee: Recommendation to retain $2.6 million as campaign goal, and approval to state $700K as amount still needed to be raised.

Old Business:

Finance Update—Terry A.

2015 Taste of Hendersonville update—Lynn P.

Capital Campaign Update—Jay T.

New Facility Update—Ken P.

Sign-up for Apple Festival Parking at Main St. Baptist Church

New Business:

Recommendation to approve Einar S. as IAM Owner’s Representative and Rick M. as First Alternate for New Facility construction

Recommendation to retain $2.6 million as campaign goal, and approval to state $700K as amount still needed to be raised.

Adjournment—Sherri M.

The next scheduled board meeting will be September 29 at 3:30 PM.

Source: Executive Director David Cook, Hendersonville, N.C.

Governance
10/23/2015 12:00 AM
Use this shared governance responsibilities memo to clarify responsibilities between the board and its executive director.
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  • Meet the Editor

    Jeff Stratton
    Editor

    Jeff Stratton has edited Board & Administrator since 1992. As the Board Doctor, he has advised thousands of executive directors and board members on issues like prevention of
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