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Boards with Brains: professional development series highlights core elements of effective nonprofit boards

Posted by jennie

At our Boards with Brains (BwB) session on marketing and communications in May, participants responded enthusiastically to our presenter, Tony George, SVP Boulder County Partner and Managing director at Vermilion Design + Digital. When asked to name one thing they plan to change in their approach as a result of the session, participants wrote that they would “strive for power in brevity,” “tell the story of the organization from the ‘why’ instead of the ‘how’” and “emphasize storytelling.”

Others noted their new understanding of the importance of marketing and communications to the nonprofit mission. One participant promised to be “more conscious and deliberate in connecting marketing to mission and vision.” Another said, “I’ll be using the stats on marketing budgets to influence my budget next year.” Still other participants noted the expertise of the presenter himself. As one person shared, “[Tony] knew his stuff and was able to make the conversation dynamic and fit to our group.”

In response to such positive feedback and strong attendance, SVP Boulder County will repeat the marketing and communications session – “Spreading the Word” – on Nov. 13.

“This year, our professional development series intentionally focuses on four core elements of effective nonprofit boards,” says Spencer Downing, SVP Program and Volunteer Officer. “We’re offering each interactive training twice, to ensure that more community members have the opportunity to engage and learn about topics that we consider crucial for nonprofit board members to know – from fundamentals of board governance to financial oversight, fundraising, and marketing and communications.”

Says local nonprofit board member Raj Rawat, a passionate education advocate: “SVP Boulder County serves a very valuable purpose, and its highly credible Boards with Brains series is key to that purpose. Spencer and his team handled the logistics of the training I attended with notable punctuality and professionalism, which facilitated focused and productive conversation.

“Participating in the most recent session really drove home the essential role of marketing and communications in every nonprofit’s strategic plan and budget. The speaker was excellent and the content was very appropriate, creating a path for participants to turn their mental gears and think about what’s possible.

“That’s when the magic happens – when everybody in the room clicks into their zone of genius and ideas begin to emerge effortlessly. Boards with Brains creates the space and support for people to explore and exchange ideas, to learn from constructive critiques and to gain a sense of momentum to move forward.”

He adds, “It’s good to have the opportunity to recognize barriers and obstacles, and to call out the issues – and then identify specific actions to take, to address those rocks in the road from a deeper and broader perspective.”

Next up in our BwB series is Fundamental Governance: “I’m on the Board … Now What?” on August 21.

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