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!


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 ( 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. (
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.

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