Other Leadership AND Governance Resources
An informal poll of several nonprofit executive clients and some of my fellow nonprofit consultants resulted in the following recommendations—a mix of magazines, blogs, and podcasts.
The mission of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE; asaecenter.org) is to help associations and association professionals transform society through the power of collaboration. An important part of this mission centers on providing a forum and tools for strengthening (nonprofit, tax-exempt) association leadership and management. While some ASAE content is free, most is available with paid individual and institutional membership.
Blue Avocado (blueavocado.org) is an online magazine geared toward nonprofit communities. Editor Jan Masaoka and guest authors contribute thoughtful, practical content that reflects both deeply lived experience and a healthy sense of fun and humor. Recent leadership-relevant postings include “Who’s the Boss? The Board or the Executive?” and “A Nonprofit Dashboard and Signal Light for Boards.”
The Bridgespan Group (bridgespan.org) is a consulting firm organized as a 501(c)(3) organization to advise social sector nonprofits and philanthropists on practical strategies to “help scale impact, build leadership, advance philanthropic effectiveness, and accelerate learning.” Bridgespan publications, such as “How to Develop Yourself as a Nonprofit Leader,” are available as free downloads. Bridgespan also hosts several discussion groups on LinkedIn.
A colleague recommended the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL; ccl.org/Leadership/index.aspx) for its emphasis on students and young professionals who want to transform passion into leadership practice. As he put it, “This one is great for us older folks to stay grounded to what or how our nonprofit field is changing.” CCL products and services include assessment tools, training, and coaching. CCL also funds behavioral science research projects on leadership and related topics.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy (philanthropy.com) is a monthly digital and print publication whose coverage includes nonprofit management and leadership. Additional online content includes webinars (e.g., “Get the Most Out of Your Board”) and podcasts (e.g., “How to Create a Path for Effective Leadership”). Access to some news content is free; a subscription costs $79 (1 year) or $135 (2 years).
Harvard Business School Working Knowledge (hbswk.hbs.edu) is a forum for innovation in business practice featuring research and thought leadership from HBS faculty. Content types include case studies, op-eds, research summaries, solicitations of reader opinion, and working paper summaries. Forum content is free and keyword-searchable. Searches on the terms “Leadership,” “Governance,” and “Management” produce numerous results.
The mission of the Leadership Learning Community (LLC; leadershiplearning.org) is to “advance a more just and equ itable society by transforming the way leadership development work is conceived, conducted and evaluated. We believe that promoting leadership as a process that is more inclusive, networked and collective will have a greater impact in advancing equity.” To this end, LLC hosts learning circles, learning labs, and webinars and publishes pro gram materials, evaluations, meeting notes, scans, reports, guidelines, and learning reflections as well as links to videos, images, and other websites relevant to the field of leadership development.
Hosted by fundraising consultant, speaker, and author Kirsten Brondsted Bullock, the Nonprofit Leaders Network (nonprofitleadersnetwork.com) podcasts feature nonprofit executive directors and CEOs describing what’s working for them. As my colleague who recommended the series stated, “The shows are tightly focused deep dives on a leadership issue clearly identified in the show title. For example, ‘Vision and Board Communication’ is about exactly that.”
The National Council of Nonprofits (councilofnonprofits.org) provides a map of its state associations and allies, which is useful for locating state-level organizations that provide communities of interest and practice and information resources for individual nonprofits in that state or region. The Council of Nonprofits also provides tools, resources, and samples for nonprofits wishing to strengthen leadership, governance, advocacy, fundraising, and other organizational components.
The Nonprofit Quarterly ( NPQ ; nonprofitquarterly.org) is a well-regarded source of news articles, features, editorials, and case studies. Specific areas covered include strategy, resource management and generation, governance, and leadership. Its content is useful for people who track the sector, as well as for practitioners seeking new ideas and demonstrated practices. NPQ webinars include such leadership-relevant topics as “Nonprofit Governance’s New Frontier: Empowered and Connected Stakeholders” and “The Completely Revised Guide to Great Board Recruitment.” The magazine is sold in 1-year ($59), 2-year ($99), and 3-year ($139) subscriptions.
The NonProfit Times (nptimes.com) showed up in several responses to my straw poll. Billing itself as the leading busi ness publication for nonprofit management, it publishes a monthly magazine, a free weekly newsletter, and a variety of moderately priced guides (e.g., “52 Tips About Nonprofit Boards,” “52 Tips About Nonprofit Management”). The NonProfit Times magazine is available in print or digital format; the latter costs $19.95 for 1 year, $29.95 for 2 years, and $39.95 for 3 years.
Don’t be put off—or fooled—by its name: Nonprofit with Balls (nonprofitwithballs.com) is a free weekly blog that many consider a must-read for its insights into the world of nonprofits striving to make a difference—without sacrificing their integrity or sanity. Author Vu Le, executive director of the Rainier Valley Corps in Seattle, writes with humor, compassion, and passion. Start with “The Downward-Facing Budget and Other Nonprofit Yoga Poses” and work your way up to the recent “Why Organizational Values Are So Awesome and Sexy” to discover a unique and authentic voice for enlightened nonprofit leadership and governance.
Nonprofits Are Messy (joangarry.com/category/podcast). Indeed. The domain of nonprofit consultant and author Joan Garry, each podcast episode and elegantly written blog post ing addresses a specific aspect of nonprofit development (e.g., becoming a great executive director, board leadership) with humor and a clear point of view. (As of this writing, Ms. Garry’s website proclaims that Nonprofits Are Messy is the No. 1 nonprofit-centric podcast on iTunes.)
One of my colleagues refers to the Stanford Social Innovation Review (ssir.org) as “the Harvard Business Review of the nonprofit world.” SSIR explores innovative ideas to help leaders of nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations work more effectively, doing so with a blend of rigor and accessibility suitable for practitioner and academic audiences. In addition to its quarterly publication, SSIR sponsors live in-person events, webinars, and podcasts, with the latter available at no charge. Subscriptions are available for 1 year ($49.95), 2 years ($84.95), and 3 years ($109.95).
VALUE OF NONPROFITS
Nonprofit organizations strive to advance our economic, social, professional, aesthetic, spiritual, and other forms of communal well-being. For these organizations to achieve their missions, they need strong, engaged leaders who truly understand their roles and responsibilities and the best ways to go about fulfilling their leadership obligations.
They will need this knowledge well in advance of the first time something threatens to go wrong—and that will happen, even to the most capable of leaders. With that in mind, those relatively new to board governance and leadership—as well as those wishing to understand the ways in which nonprofit leadership is growing and evolving—will appreciate the rich online resources available to them.
Beyond the Northern Border
Two Canadian information resources come highly recommended.
CharityVillage (charityvillage.com) offers a rich repository and channel for news, “how-to” articles, job postings, and volunteer opportunities for the Canadian nonprofit sector. The Management section includes a variety of articles on leadership.
The aim of Sector Source (sectorsource.ca) is “to provide a single location for charities and nonprofits to access selected professional material about managing, developing and overseeing their organizations.” Resources include toolkits, research studies, current news, and training programs. Sector Source also acts as a knowledge support system and tool for the Imagine Canada Standards Program.