The most effective nonprofit organizations have an involved governance structure—that is, a board of directors, advisory board, or advisors—supporting the executive director and working together as a team to advance the organization’s mission. Tides Center offers each project individualized support and resources to build the right governance structure for every stage of the project’s development.
New Project Assessments
During new project orientation, Tides Center staff review the project’s governance experience and capabilities. Some projects come to Tides Center with a fully developed advisory structure; others have never worked with a governing board. Some are small enough to take advantage of a few advisors; larger projects benefit from a dedicated group of strategic thinkers who meet on a regular basis to advance the project's mission.
A Governance Guidelines Handbook describes Tides fiscal sponsorship model of governance including the roles and responsibilities of the project director, advisory board members, and Tides Board of Directors. Also included are basic tools and templates for board operations and strategic planning. A governance Introduction and Summary introduces new directors and advisors to Tides Center and the governance support provided to them. Articles, sample letters and policies, tools, tips, and best practices are available for every aspect of governance.
Project directors, staff, and advisory board members may attend interactive webinars. An introductory webinar provides the basics of nonprofit governance, the roles and responsibilities of the Tides Center Board of Directors and the project’s advisory board, and reviews the nonprofit sector’s most important governance practices. Other webinar topics include exercises to encourage board fundraising, innovative thinking for the best recruitment and orientation, creating a board governance committee to manage board work, and focusing board meetings on the future using a consent agenda.
Managing Conflicts of Interest
Increased public scrutiny of the nonprofit sector has made careful management of real or potential conflicts of interest essential. To protect the interests and integrity of each project, Tides Center defines various types of conflicts that can arise and offers each project the steps needed to prevent or manage conflicts.
Annual Review and Goal Setting
Project directors and advisors meet annually with Tides Center governance staff to review governance practices, develop solutions for project challenges, and to set governance goals for the year.
Projects use Tides Center’s governance consultation services to discuss a wide variety of topics such as managing conflicts of interest, making board meetings more productive, determining the right mix of board member characteristics needed to address project challenges, orienting new board members, and handling difficult or unengaged board members. We also offer assistance with developing a fundraising board.
Rosanne Stead joined Tides in 2004; in 2005 she initiated the Governance program and is now Senior Governance Advisor for Tides. Previous to Tides, Rosanne taught English to factory workers in Italy; managed an independent bookstore; was Executive Director of the ATHENA Foundation, an international nonprofit honoring successful women mentors; established a gynecologic oncology practice with her brother, a cancer surgeon; and served as the director of a community development nonprofit. She spent years as president of a homeless shelter board, as city planning commissioner, as a capitol city chamber of commerce board member, and as vice chair of a downtown development authority. Rosanne holds a BA in psychology, sociology, and anthropology from Michigan State University and a Masters degree in urban studies from the University of Chicago. Rosanne and her husband live in Pittsburgh, PA and their daughter and her family live in Palo Alto, CA.
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