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Pages tagged "Julia Jackson"


Mud, messiness and clarity

mud.jpegSometimes when you go through a process it gets muddy before it gets clear.

As a consultant for nonprofits with Aurora Consulting, when we do a strategic planning retreat with clients we often warn them things will get “muddy” for a time but we won’t stay in the mud. I’ve come to see it’s not about needing a new process that keeps things clear and organized. It’s about allowing everyone to dive into the mud, get messy, stir around, and see what comes out the other side.

I can also see how this is true in life. In small ways, such as organizing a closet, to big ways like finding the right path in your life or career.

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How to make better decisions with stakeholder engagement

main.jpgStakeholder engagement. There’s some nonprofit jargon that can easily overwhelm anybody. But it’s really just about who to involve in decision making, when to involve them, and at what level - all pieces that are essential to working with clients and others. 

As a nonprofit consultant at Aurora Consulting, I talk with my colleagues about stakeholder engagement in relation to organization assessments, program evaluation, strategic planning, nonprofit governance, and many other areas. The questions of who needs to be heard from, what quality of information we need, how important consensus is, where will authority lie all become very important. 

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Confessions of a new board chair

Can I be honest? Sometimes a new leadership opportunity doesn’t feel like a thrilling adventure, or a great next step in your career path. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a long-awaited chance to use your skills.

Sometimes it feels just, well, scary.

Maybe it’s unexpected. Maybe you don’t feel prepared. But there you find yourself and you have a choice. Say no, or face your fears and accept the challenge.

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Demystifying Board Service: Part 3

If you’ve been following this three-part series on board service (check out part 1 and part 2), you know that finding the right board to serve on is a nuanced adventure. Besides your time, talents and desires, you have to consider the purpose of the board and the organization’s needs and wants. Before making that final decision on whether or not to join the board, you should also take a closer look at the organization’s size, funding and culture.

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Demystifying Board Service: Part 2

by Julia Jackson

You may have heard the saying “if you’ve seen one board you’ve seen one board,” but what exactly does that mean? Boards have the same responsibilities at the most fundamental level; however, I’ve seen first-hand in my work as a consultant and board member that boards can vary dramatically. These differences can have an impact on the experience you'll have and the work you'll do. 

In Demystifying Board Service Part I, I wrote about knowing what you want to give and get out of board service and how to match that with what a board needs. But to really ensure a great fit—one where you can make the best use of your time and talents─you have to understand the board’s composition and function.

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Demystifying Board Service: Part 1

Last fall I registered for a class at the Humphrey School that required me to be on a board. I knew little about boards, but was interested in them. I just didn’t know why anyone would want me on a board or how to find one. I’m young-ish, haven’t worked in the Twin Cities nonprofit sector for very long, don’t have a lot of money, and I’m not well connected to rich or prestigious people. But there I was, required to serve on a board.

My boss was just finishing some consulting working with Rainbow Rumpus. She thought it would be a good fit for me because the organization was in a period of growth; they were high functioning board; the people on the board were good people to work with; and there would be a lot of leadership opportunities. So I contacted them.

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