March 1, 2017

Help Your Board Win With BDS

Smiling board members at a tableBoard success is as simple as BDS or Bus, Driver-Navigator, and Speed.

Let me explain. 


You’ve heard that you need the right people on the bus. Board success is as much as about who as what. “Who” is the right people. You need leaders who are nice. Not friendly people who might lead.

Who rides your bus now? Who is getting off the bus? Who stands on the curb to replace them?

Have an honest conversation with yourself. How many of your board members are the right people? What one step can you take today to ensure your nominating committee nominates great leaders? This action is the most important thing you will do today to help your nonprofit thrive.  For more on board recruitment, watch How to Recruit Stellar Board Members?   

Driver or Navigator

In the field, I find three kinds of nonprofits:

1) those lead by the CEO,

2) organizations lead solely by the board chair, and

3) those lead by the board chair where the CEO navigates.

Type one and three thrive; type two struggle. Why? Type twos lack the CEO and leadership team’s expertise on nonprofit income, management, and growth. Board success result from CEO leadership, overt or covert, to ensures the bus moves in the right direction.

Which leadership model do you follow? If it’s number two, how will you step forward to navigate? 


Speed kills. No speed also kills.

You must move forward near the speed limit, neither too fast or slow. If you move too quickly and get ahead of the board, they freak. If you move too slow, they fret.

The trick? Find a pace that excites and doesn’t provoke flight or fight.  

From zero miles to 80 miles per hour, rate your board’s speed moving toward your organization’s goals? What action can you take today to sync your speed with the board? How can you increase speed by one mile per hour?     


Did you know that the fuel of board success is knowledge? Does your board know how successful nonprofits earn revenue? Download this chapter from 7 Nonprofit Income Streams to share with them now.    

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit  CEO Library.

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Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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