Recently what has been the perceived role of a board of directors has shifted from fundraising to governance and fiscal responsibility. I say perceived because legally governance and fiscal responsibility have always been the role assigned to boards of directors.

That sort of serious sounding focus really provides a disincentive to serving on a non-profit board. Think about how much more fun serving a non-profit would be if the focus was on playing board games!

(Source)

Well, no that’s not quite what I meant.

The National Council of Nonprofits recently called attention to the FUN (Finance Unlocked for Nonprofits) program developed by Washington Nonprofits and Jacobson Jarvis & Co PLLC.

This is a great learning resource that combines individual and group activities in an attempt to train board members in a manner that is both effective and enjoyable. They call their assessment tool “Pulse (because “test” is a scary word)”

The FUN webpage contains everything a nonprofit needs. There are instructions on how to use the resources; short videos with corresponding information kits board members can use to learn on their own time; BINGO cards for individual and group activities.

BINGO, by the way stands for Balance sheet, Income Statement, Nine-Ninety, Giving and Oversight – the main topic areas FUN covers.

As you might imagine from acronyms like FUN and BINGO, the program is designed with a game-like structure. Board members can learn the rules of the game/governance on their own. There are also game-like activities for board meetings to evaluate whether board members are comfortable with the financial reporting process.

Each video is short, the longest is 6 minutes, but informative. Board members shouldn’t entirely dread needing to review the information on their own. The videos are also useful for non-profit organization administration because they suggest ways reports can be formatted to make them easier for board members to review and understand.

While their portrayal of the 990 form as a place where all the flaws of the organization are inevitably laid bare is not entirely accurate, their focus on the opportunity to use it as a marketing tool to tell the organizational story emphasizes its importance and makes its completion feel like less of a chore.

About Joe Patti

In addition to writing for ArtHacker, I have been writing the blog, Butts in the Seats (buttsseats.com) since 2004.
I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)
I am currently the Director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University. Across my career I have worked at University of Hawaii-Leeward Community College, University of Central Florida, Asolo Theater, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Appel Farm Arts and Music Center and numerous other places both defunct and funky.

Don't Stop Hacking The Arts Yet...

  • Stages of Board Life Cycle

    Non-Profit Quarterly recently published a piece charting out the cyclic nature of boards of directors. If ever you have been frustrated with your board and wondered why it is…

  • Term limits for board members are a tricky subject. When you are first starting a non-profit organization, the board is often the sole source of labor until the organization…

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend