Have you read the annual index by Board Source yet? It’s called “Leading With Intent” and is a terrific snapshot of the sector’s board practices. Overall, nonprofits self-reported at a B- rating. Now, if your organization is outperforming that – time to celebrate!

However, if you can relate to many of the responses in the study, you may need to go watch some cat videos to cheer up. For instance, it tells us that only 22% of board members asked for money face-to-face in 2014. Really? Wow.  Well guess what….

If you find yourself in this pickle, it’s likely you have either a leadership issue or a culture issue or both.

The good news is….it’s not the end of the world.

And I’m going to share three things to do if you want to improve your rating.

1. Figure out who you want to be like. Who is the big player in town that everyone admires? There are probably a few who seem to raise tons of money, have a strong board and a great reputation. Now outline 5 questions you want to ask them and go talk to them. I mean it. It might cost you lunch. I promise it will be worth the investment.

2. Do a “get-real assessment.” You can use this study as a starting place. Keep it simple and rate yourself. Consider an anonymous e-survey to the whole board and senior staff team to get everyone’s insight. One of the best gifts we can receive is a glance into our blind spots. How does everyone else perceive your organization’s board culture? Leadership?

3. Decide. It’s that simple. Just decide. Either you will do something about the results of your assessment, or you won’t. You get to choose (collectively) what kind of organization you want to be a part of. Discuss how, where, when you want to invest and start laying out some next steps. If you discover you have a long way to go, just take baby steps based on what will have the most impact in the short term first. And if your nonprofit is an A+ organization, then get out there and help the other guys!

The future is bright! There is so much great work being done in the social sector. Let’s work together to improve that B- rating next year.

What if we focused on lifting each other up? Imagine the possibilities!!