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POLICY vs. PAPER CLIPS - THIRD EDITION: How Using the Corporate Model Makes a Nonprofit Board More Efficient & Effective 3rd Revised & enlarged Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1456374051
ISBN-10: 1456374052
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Frequently Bought Together

  • POLICY vs. PAPER CLIPS - THIRD EDITION: How Using the Corporate Model Makes a Nonprofit Board More Efficient & Effective
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  • You and Your  Nonprofit Board: Advice and Practical Tips from the Field's Top Practitioners, Researchers, and Provocateurs (In the Trenches)
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  • The Nonprofit Board Answer Book: A Practical Guide for Board Members and Chief Executives
Total price: $100.45
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Policy vs. Paper Clips shows how to transform your organization by optimizing:

Strategic Planning
  • Focus on organization strategic issues over operational minutiae
  • Encourage directors to bring their own special expertise and cultural values to board decisions
Board Structure
  • Develop or enhance a mission focused board structure for growth
  • Use task forces more efficiently to obtain time results
  • Designate the senior operational manager as the President/CEO to give the position the prestige that it deserves
  • Establish a framework for separating policy/strategy development from operational activities
  • Make effective use of an executive committee
  • Make wise use of volunteers' time to make board recruitment easier
  • Reduce or increase board size
  • Operate effectively with only three standing board committees 
  • Make major board structural changes with minimum disruption
  • Develop effective audit committee procedures
  • Keep board involvement high when developing policies & strategies
Board-Staff Relations
  • Create a partnership between board and staff built on trust
  • Pinpoint management's  responsibility and clarify its accountability
  • Allow more management flexibility to develop a more entrepreneurial culture
  • Increase focus on productivity at the expense of bureaucratic processes
  • Develop a more professional and self-managing staff
  • Build a working relationship between the volunteer board chair and the CEO
  • Evaluate the senior manager fairly, despite only having some imperfect metrics for qualitative outcomes
  • Improve the CEO's fund raising capacity to drive development productivity
Operations & Compliance
  • Sharpen the organization's client focus to improve mission impact
  • Obtain greater efficiencies through lower costs
  • Establish a system of organizational checks and balances
  • Use the board to provide responsibility for -- and oversight over -- fraud prevention
  • Understand the implications of compliance requirements such as IRS Form 990, the Sarbanes- Oxley Act and the Intermediate Sanctions Act
  • Understand the  need for -- and implement -- rigorous assessment of operational outcome 

About the Author

Eugene H. Fram, Ed.D, professor emeritus, E. Philip Saunders College of Business, at Rochester Institute of Technology, is an authority on the Corporate Model. His experience with nonprofit organizations—as consultant, author, volunteer, board director, and board chair—dates back more than thirty years. In addition, he has extensive experience working with business boards of directors. He pioneered the development of the Corporate Model for nonprofit organizations. A frequent lecturer on the Model, Dr. Fram continues to publish articles related to both nonprofit and for-profit governance in professional journals such as MIT’s Sloan Management Review, The Wall Street Journal, Corporate Governance, Leader to Leader, and Nonprofit World. Dr. Fram formerly served as J. Warren McClure research professor of marketing at Rochester Institute of Technology and is the author or co-author of more than 125 published articles and six books. Vicki Brown is associate director of the Center for Governmental Research (CGR), a nonprofit and nonpartisan consulting organization based in New York, where her work encompasses research, analysis, and writing for both nonprofit and government clients. Prior to joining CGR, she owned a consulting firm for twenty-eight years, and directed research, writing, and editing projects for consulting groups, medical centers, major universities, governmental organizations, and businesses ranging in size from one-person firms to Fortune 500 companies. Previously she was a newspaper reporter in Rochester, New York, and a university writer/editor in Atlanta, Georgia. 3740517814569ISBN 978-1456374051
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 3rd Revised & enlarged edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456374052
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456374051
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John W. Pearson VINE VOICE on August 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This helpful book features a dialogue on how to move micromanaging board members into a new-and-improved paradigm, "The Corporate Model." The author quotes William Bowen, former Princeton University president, "Finding the appropriate balance between executive authority and board oversight is more likely to require strengthening the hand of the CEO than building up the powers of the board."

Let's be real here: much of what happens in the boardroom (nonprofit and corporate) is highly dysfunctional. In my opinion, most governance fuzziness emanates from unvoiced assumptions about the board's role and the CEO's role.

Role clarity should always prompt a discussion about governance models: the Hands-on model, John Carver's Policy Governance model, the Board Policies Manual tool Good Governance for Nonprofits: Developing Principles and Policies for an Effective Board, and so many other options. Yet with all of these models and resources available with a simple Google search, why is there still so much dysfunction? (Maybe no one reads this stuff?)

So here's a resource--with a very unique writing style--that will help clarify board roles and responsibilities. The author begins with the key question: what's Job #1 for a board?

According to Eugene H. Fram, the most important job of the board is "to find the best possible person to manage the organization, then stand back and let that person manage.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was introduced to this book two years ago while serving as the chair of a trade association. We needed to improve how we worked together and this book gave us the advice we needed.

The author introduces something he calls the "Corporate Model," which is designed to separate operational issues from policy. This approach enables the board to focus on policy rather than getting pulled down into operational issues, which are the "paper clips" of the title.

The book is written as a series of emails between two individuals with one explaining the Corporate Model to the other. This creates a very readable style. Usually I find that type of book taking too long to make its points, but that wasn't so for this book.

It took the board I was on the better part of a year to put these ideas into place, but we were able to start acting on the core idea (focus on policy not operations) immediately. This made the book immediately helpful to us. We give a copy to each new board member and I reference my copy frequently. I've got an underlined passage every 3-4 pages and over a dozen post-its permanently stuck to the pages I refer back to most often.

Unless the board of your trade association or other organization is already running perfectly, you will undoubtedly find this book of tremendous value.
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Format: Paperback
I've used the 1995 2nd Edition of Policy vs. paper clips to facilitate board governance retreats. With the dwindling supplies of that out-of-print book, I was relieved to learn that the 3rd Edition has been published. Prior to one retreat, Eugene Fram's clever and comprehensive approach to illustrating the differences between The Corporate Model and The Dysfunctional Model was required reading by each board member. Because "Policy vs. paper clips" was longer than the usual advance homework, I created a study guide with questions to get board members' minds ready for robust in-person debate.

By the end of that intense weekend retreat, the board voted to change the "executive director" title to "CEO" and, in their first regular board meeting after the training, turned to me at one point to ask, "Is this a policy issue or a paper-clip issue?" The important point was that they were (finally) asking that question. Reflecting on the easy-to-read wisdom in the book had given them shared code words to label the two conflicting approaches to board practice.

In 2011, younger board members probably don't know what the quaint art of letter-writing was all about. Researcher Fram and writer Vicki Brown were wise to recapture the dialogue (between a discouraged board member and his friend, a successful nonprofit CEO) in emails. I was pleased to note other modern touches such as discussion about the impact of Sarbanes-Oxley. The 3rd Edition is truly "updated and expanded," as the cover promises. I will definitely depend on it as a resource to help Boards recognize the danger of fiddling with paper clips while strategy burns.
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Format: Paperback
I have the second edition of this book and just read the third expanded and updated edition. The material in the latest edition continues to be clearly presented in a reader-friendly manner that enables an executive director or board member to quickly apply it to their own organizations. In addition, the author's respect for the dedication of nonprofit executives, staff and board members is evident throughout the book. He calls for high performance expectations, rigorous assessments, and provides solutions to common challenges.

I would have liked checklists against which one can compare one's own operations; but this is a minor quibble. If you are looking for suggestions to reduce the number of standing board committees, to develop better assessment processes for the CEO and the organization, and to motivate more intelligent board participation, this book is for you. The accessible format, a series of email messages between two people, lends itself well to reading in small, distinct chunks, or finishing it in its entirety on an airplane ride, for example. It is clearly well researched; I suggest having an entire board and top management of any nonprofit read this book together.
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