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VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


They are volunteers, too!
Look here for infomation and the latest techniques to develop your board or committee. The purpose is to help those who work or serve on nonprofit boards of directors or committees.

~ October 2003 ~ Topic


Repairman ImageWhat the Board Can Do to Overcome “Founder’s Syndrome”

Last month we discussed “founder’s syndrome.” This is something that often affects the founder of an organization. The founder has put his/her heart and soul into the organization, and frequently has trouble letting go so that the infant organization can begin to walk on its own and grow and mature.

This month let’s explore what the board can do to help the founder be more comfortable with this transition:

The board needs to give the founder all the recognition and thanks possible for what he/she has done.
The board, frequently made up of friends of the founder, needs to affirm its loyalty to the organization as well as to the founder. That means: do the board members really believe in the mission and core values of the organization and are they committed to doing the job they need to do?
In addition, the board needs to examine its composition; decide what additional skills and representation are needed and add members who may or may not be friends of the founder.
The board needs to remember that it is legally responsible for the organization and to think and act as a governing body, not as a rubber stamp. It must remember that it is responsible for making sure that the organization is faithful to its mission and is managing its resources in a reasonable and legal manner.
If a new executive director is to be chosen, the board should do some careful planning about what the organization needs to accomplish and the qualifications the new person should possess. These may or may not be the same qualifications that the founder has, but an objective study needs to be made. Too often, boards look for a clone of the founder, which usually isn’t possible, and may not even be what is really needed.

If the board does these things, it will prove to the founder that it has matured and is on the right track. That’s what every parent should want!

See our online bookstore for Jeanne Bradner's book on boards: "The Board Member’s Guide: A Beneficial Bestiary", "Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today" and "Passionate Volunteerism."
Board Member's Guide Image"Board Member's Guide Image Passionate Volunteerism Image
Leading Volunteers Book Image Passionate Volunteerism Book Image Board Member's Guide Book Image

Other good sources for information on boards and committees:

Jeanne H. Bradner
Jeanne H. Bradner is an author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership. She is the author of three publications, Passionate Volunteerism, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today. She served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management curriculum.

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