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The Ultimate Board Member's Book: A 1-Hour Guide to Understanding and Fulfilling Your Role and Responsibilites Paperback – September, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A plain language, no-nonsense guide to serving effectively on a nonprofit board. An ideal and fast tutorial." -- Frederick Breitenfeld, Trustee, Thomas Jefferson University

"A smart, wise and stimulating book!" -- Milbrey McLaughlin, Executive Director, Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, Stanford University

"Gives a solid grounding in what it takes to be an effective and responsible board member." -- Thomas Ehrlich, Senior Scholar, The Carnegie Foundation

"The most succinct, yet thorough, explanation of the responsibilities of a nonprofit board member I have heard or read." -- Michael Byram, President and CEO, University of Colorado Foundation

About the Author

Kay Sprinkel Grace is the author of Fundraising Mistakes that Bedevil All Boards (and Staff Too), and Over Goal! What You Must Know to Excel at Fundraising Today. Grace, who serves on the faculty of The Fund Raising School at the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, received B.A. and M.A. degrees from Stanford University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Emerson & Church; 1st edition (September 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1889102180
  • ISBN-13: 978-1889102184
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,001,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If every board member in America read this book, nonprofits would enter a golden age of enlightenment. There are close to 1.5 million IRA-authorized nonprofits in the U.S. Yet an effective board remains stubbornly out of reach for many if not most. Buy this book. Make every executive director and board member read it. Problem solved. I first became aware of Kay Sprinkel Grace as a popular speaker at fundraising conferences. Then I learned how she has helped American public television expand its fundraising over the last few years. In a distinguished career, she has observed hundreds of boards do their best and worst. In this fast, inspiring, no-jargon little book she distills that vast experience down to 41 incisive micro-chapters, none longer than two pages. I devoured the book in just 45 minutes. Chapter 13, Qualities of an Effective Board, is alone worth the cover price. Ms. Grace's goal: happier, more productive board members; and the powerful nonprofits that result.
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Format: Paperback
We provide a copy of this book to every new Board member and we use it in our new Board member orientation. Our governance Committee just referred to the section on Board members working with staff. These 100 pages are clearly written and presented in a way that does not overwhelm the reader. Everyone has the time to read this gem of a book, novice and veteran alike. Take it with you the next time you're on an airplane.
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Format: Paperback
A short, but by no means superficial, review of what makes a great Board Member...and how great Board Members can build great institutions. Filled with practical advice--and a dose of inspiration as well--it's an engaging read, appropriate for both the novice and the seasoned hand. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
We used Kay's book as part of a recent retreat of our Board of Trustees and found that it had something for everyone -- an easy to use roadmap for new Board members and a "tune-up" for our most experienced Trustees. It's a quick read, but it covers the key responsibilities of non-profit board membership. Our senior staff members also found it useful, in helping to define their roles in partnership with our Board.

Norm Silverstein

President & CEO

WXXI Public Broadcasting Council

Rochester, NY
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Format: Paperback
Governance of an organisation ( profit making as well as non-profit) is generally done through its Board.I have had the opportunity of being a Board member of many such organisations from time to time .All of them have a Chairperson, a CEO , by whatever name called ,and a number of Board members .I have observed that in India , these Boards generally exist more in name and form , and less in spirit .Most of these Boards practically work as centralised bodies, with Chairperson and the CEO making most of the decisions .The other Board members are marginalised , and often rendered ineffective .To a large extent , this even applies to the Cabinet of different governments , elected district level local bodies ( urban and rural ) and non-profits..I have been questioning myself whether there is a scope for ordinary Board members to be effective ."The Ultimate Board Member's book" by Kay Sprinkel Grace is a slim book of 112 pages which tells us how to be effective as a member of a non-profit Board.
A Board member can be effective only if he (or she) endorses and shares the mission and values of the organisation .He should be prepared to commit time and resources to help the board achieve the mission and vision of the organisation.As a non-profit , he should do things which "ease human suffering or enhance human potential."Mission is why the organisation exists.The Board member should strive to remain connected with its mission.He should periodically undertake tours and hold meetings with people who have benefited from the organisation.This will keep him reminded of why he got involved in the first place.
He should regularly attend the meetings of the board or of the board committees ,of which he is a member.He should make the organisation one of his top priorities.
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The book was a good general overview, but needed more substanitive details to be considered "ultimate". I had expected more. It should have dealt with some differences between types of organizations. It was too generic. A decent read for an unexperienced board member, but too general for an existing one.
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I'm in the process of launching 501(c)(3) in the public media sector. In recent weeks, I've read a great deal of literature on topics that relate to best practices of effective boards. I have to say, these little Emerson & Church "one-hour read" paperbacks (devoted to this topic) are fabulous, less their insanely-expensive price tag for what they are. If you're looking for substance and inner mechanics of policy governance, board member recruitment or what have you, you won't get it here. What you will get is a cliff notes version of general essentials that boards and board members should abide by. It's a helicopter fly-by of common sense and not-so-common-sense advise and best practices. It's the kind of stuff that I've highlighted over several hundred pages of several other books in this topic area. Furthermore, Kay writes in a warm, friendly tone that's motivating at the same time. She came across to me as if she was sitting at a coffee shop table actually walking me through this stuff in person. If you were to only read a few books on the oh-so-rousing topic of board formation and best practices, I'd recommend this one and "Great Boards for Small Groups" by the same publisher for cliff notes-type reads, John Carver's "Boards that Make a Difference" (long and dull, beware) and William G. Bowen's "The Board Book." The latter two are not one-sitting reads. Kay's is, however, and for that reason, it's a perfect book for anyone -- board formation efforts like mine, seasoned board members and newly-electeds alike.
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