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Board Members Rule: How to Be a Strategic Advocate for Your Nonprofit

by Robert Zimmerman and Ann Lehman

Table of Contents

Author's Biographies


  • New Responsibilities for Nonprofit Boards
  • Using Strategic Thinking to Advocate for Your Organization
  • How to Use the Manual
  • A Word About the Word "nonprofits"

1. What is Strategic Advocacy?

  • Moving Beyond the Traditional Role of a Board Member
  • A Strategic Advocacy Perspective
  • Asking Strategic Questions
  • Why is Public Policy Advocacy Important to Nonprofits?
  • Can You Lobby On Behalf Of Your Nonprofit?

2. What is Strategic Planning?

  • Strategic Planning to Envision the Future
  • Planning to Plan
  • Strategic Planning Committee
  • Developing a Mission Statement
  • Visioning the Future

3. How Does the Board Govern and Evaluate Itself?

  • Well-Run Board Meetings
  • Board Officers
  • Committees - To Be or Not To Be
  • Board Evaluation
  • Board Evaluation Grid
  • Plans for Board Training

4. What Should Board Members Understand about Finances, Accountability and Transparency?

  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Potential Future Concerns
  • Budgets
  • Understanding the Financial Picture of Your Agency

5. How Can a Board Recruit New Members Strategically?

  • Assessing the Needs of Your Nonprofit
  • Board Assessment Grid
  • Nonprofit Board Recruitment Job Description
  • A Board Recruitment Process

6. What are Board Members' Fiduciary Responsibilities?

  • Three Major Fiduciary Requirements for a Board Member
  • Nonprofit Corporate Status
  • Trends in the Nonprofit Regulatory Arena
  • Conflicts Of Interest
  • The Insurance Question - Is It Necessary

7. How Does the Board Manage the Nonprofit?

  • What is the Best Relationship Between the Board and the Executive Director?
  • Executive Director Performance Appraisal Procedure
  • Executive Director Evaluation Grid

8. How Does the Board Market and Raise Funds for the Nonprofit?

  • How to Diversify Your Fundraising Base
  • Use Marketing to Extend Your Support or Sell Your Message

Appendix A. Exercises for Board Members
Appendix B. Sample Public Policy Guidelines
Appendix C. Resources for Board Members
Appendix D. Nonprofit Technical Assistance Centers

List of Tables/Exhibits

1.1 Example of Strategic Advocacy on the Board
1.2 Lobbying Within Limits: A Short Summary of the Rules
2.1 Using the Mission Statement as an Assessment Tool
2.2 Alert: Assessing Funding Opportunities Fairly
2.3 Values List
2.4 Questions To Ask In An Environmental Scan
2.5 A Word About Brainstorming
2.6 SWOT Example
2.7 Terrie Temkin's Questions To Help Boards Think Strategically
2.8 Stating Goals & Objectives
3.1 Agenda Items
3.2 Evaluating Your Committees
3.3 Committee Checklist
3.4 Board Evaluation Grid
4.1 An Example of How To Calculate Overhead
4.2 Typical Income and Expense Categories
5.1 Board Member Traits That Are Critical
5.2 Board Recruitment Grid
5.3 XYZ Board Member Recruitment Job Description
5.4 Finding Diverse Professionals as Prospective Board Members
5.5 Board Orientation Package
6. 1 The Three Main Fiduciary Duties
6.2 California Nonprofit Integrity Act of 2004: Summary of Key Provisions
6. 3 Conflict of Interest Policy Areas
6.4 When is it a Conflict of Interest?
7.1 Characteristics of a Good Leader
7.2 Executive Director Performance Evaluation Grid
8.1 Questions to Assess a Special Event
8.2 Assessing a Social Enterprise



128 pages, 8.5x11, February 2007, Unlimited Publishing, ISBN: 0-7879-6812-9

Available in Paperback or downloadable PDF.

Now available online at:


Barnes & Noble




Copyright © 2005, Zimmerman Lehman