Nonprofit groups learn how to navigate organizational pitfalls at Duke panel in Vail | VailDaily.com

Nonprofit groups learn how to navigate organizational pitfalls at Duke panel in Vail

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A quartet of professors from Duke University, from left, Matt Nash, Ruth Peebles, Oie Osterkamp and Melissa LeRoy, were presenters at a program on nonprofit board management hosted by the Vail Centre.

VAIL — The Vail Centre recently hosted a free community event at Vail's Donovan Pavilion, with more than 90 nonprofits attending a panel discussion titled the "Pitfalls of Nonprofit Boards," presented by Duke University.

Four professors, Matt Nash, Oie Osterkamp, Ruth Peebles and Melissa LeRoy, were the presenters. These professors teach at Duke and are also executive directors and board members of major nonprofits. The professors were in Vail to present at the Vail Centre's Duke Nonprofit Management Certificate Course, which covers everything from leadership and human relations to financial management, grant writing and social entrepreneurship for nonprofits. The Vail Centre is providing free community events as an extension of its traditional programming and it plans to continue this going forward with its other academic programs.

Accountability matters

The panel focused on the critical success factors for nonprofit boards and board engagement was a priority throughout the evening.

"The board needs to be engaged and accountable for their contributions to the organization, but that requires an organization to clearly outline the duties of the board and that starts with governance along with proper selection and screening or board members," Nash said. "Strategic thought and action is required for a successful nonprofit and a successful nonprofit board of directors."

Team exercises help educate the board members about the organization and build trust and consensus between the staff and the board. "An effective board is one that works as a team," LeRoy said. "Team exercises builds strong boards and builds trusting relationships."

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Osterkamp added, "Board is a verb. Nonprofits need to clearly spell out expectations and know what board members have accomplished and what they are currently doing."

The Vail Centre helps communities and organizations develop talent for the future. The Centre is a nonprofit learning organization that curates post graduate certificate and short courses to help organizations elevate their people. Vail Centre campus environments bring the community together to connect professionals with resources to advance their careers.

For more information, go to http://www.vail centre.org.