Leadership Academy is the Cherry on the Top of Scottsdale Leadership

Sandy Adler, Class 26
Realtor, Arizona Best Real Estate

The Class 26 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

Our Scottsdale Leadership Day on December 9 was an inspirational change up to what we had been doing for the previous five meeting days and I found it really exhilarating. While the three portions of the day, Leadership Academy, Scottsdale Leadership Awards Luncheon, and Pay It Forward Project group time were all great, I found the Leadership Academy to be the most exciting.

The topic for the Leadership Academy was Non-Profit Board Responsibilities and Fundraising. Four panelists with extensive non-profit experience as staff and/or volunteers answered questions from the moderator (and the class) about the role of non-profit board members.

Here are some of my favorite pieces of advice from this group:

  • Passion for the organization is essential. Only participate on the board of an organization that you truly care about.
  • Study and be prepared for meetings. Be ready to ask questions. Know what the organization needs.
  • Raising money for the organization is a must. Be prepared to know what the give or get is for that board and be prepared to follow through with the expectation.
  • If you are considering joining a board, sit down with the CEO of the organization and ask pointed questions about the organization and the expectations for board members. The best organizations have board packets for potential board members with this information.
  • “Fundraising is teaching the gentle art of giving.” Fundraising is people supporting people. It’s about building relationships.
  • Leadership is about courage. There must be honest conversation when there is conflict on the board so that you don’t end up with nineteen other unhappy board members because of one difficult person.
  • Transparency is crucial, particularly when there is a problem in the organization.
  • It is the responsibility of the board chair and the CEO of the organization to make sure that the board member has a positive experience on the board.
  • And, my favorite, board membership should be fun.

While we are learning about a multitude of organizations in our community that can benefit from our service as volunteers, it is also crucial that we understand what those commitments entail. I’ve served on several non-profit boards over the years, and I found this conversation both affirming and enlightening. The discussion inspired me to be a better board member. It also served as a warning to be careful about the commitments I make as I move forward with acting on what I am learning through the Scottsdale Leadership program.

I’d love to hear more about experiences that others have had on various non-profit boards, both positive and negative. What did you enjoy about board membership? What did you dislike?


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Filed under Class, Community, Leadership

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