An Asset, Not a Liability: Volunteer Leadership in Non-Profits

An Asset, Not a Liability: Volunteer Leadership in Non-Profits

Innovator Talk by: Peter Finn (MSLOC 2007)

There are several variables that lead to the success of non-profits, but a forward thinking board of directors is one of the biggest factors. The volunteer leadership and board of directors serve a big financial role (in driving philanthropic giving) while also playing a vital role in the long term strategic direction of the organization and achieving the mission. Too often, however, boards and other leadership committees can be dysfunctional (e.g., confusing their own role for that of the staff), self-serving and unable to set the long term goals and direction necessary for the organization. In many cases boards can swell to over 50 people and quickly lose sight of why they are there in the first place. In the last couple of years I have been working on strategies and methods to develop an effective board of directors as well as other volunteer leaders. Developing these leaders within the framework of a set of competencies is one way to insure that they are fully invested in the mission and focused on the long term growth of the organization.

About Peter Finn

Peter is the Director of Learning and Development for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), which is a not for profit organization focused on the advancement of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with over 20,000 members and 70 corporate partners representing a diversity of industries.  He has more than 15 years of experience in education as teacher, instructional designer, developer, and program manager. He has worked with experts in the content areas of finance, engineering, healthcare, and public policy. Before coming to SWE, Pete worked for the Goldin Institute as the Director of Education. While at the Goldin Institute he consulted with a variety of non-profit organizations on the topics of capacity-building, education, research methods and technology. 

Video from Innovator Talk series presented at MSLOC 10th Anniversary Celebration in May 2012.

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