Should your nonprofit use a Resource Council?

March 23, 2016

Filed under: Fundraising,Leadership — jonathanpoisner @ 2:20 pm

A Resource Council. A Council of Leaders.

These are two names I’ve experienced as alternatives to an “Advisory Board,” which is more common in the nonprofit world.

What I like about the alternative formulation is you’re more explicitly naming the group for what it most should provide: resources.

The Council should be a group of 6-12 non-board volunteers who’re committed to doing something to help your organization secure more resources.

As a Council, they are probably only brought together once a year to meet with the organization’s other leadership. Perhaps one extra time if the organization is going through strategic planning.

The Council should have a written job description and some leadership –whether provided by a staff member, the Council Chair, or both. The Council should have an annual goal or goals — usually based on the resources the Council will help the group obtain.

This is a great way to involve those people who are in a position to help an organization, but don’t want to wade through all the nitty gritty of board governance.

Has your organization used a Council (by whatever name it’s called)? What’s worked well and what hasn’t worked well?

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  1. If they only meet once per year, how would they be invested enough in the organization to want to provide such resources? Also, why meet with them as a group? Wouldn’t you be more likely to get the resources you need from them if you meet with them one-on-one? Is there some collaborative value in having them all meet together?

    Comment by Jan Wilson — July 26, 2016 @ 4:57 pm

  2. Jan — great questions. I think the short answer is you probably want to do both — meet with them individually as donors to make sure they’re personally invested. But also as a group so they see themselves as part of a team who’re helping where all team members have a specific set of responsibilities.

    Comment by jonathanpoisner — July 27, 2016 @ 11:50 am

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