While Direct Impact aims to transform the way individuals are prepared for governance, Echoing Green also believes that it is important for young nonprofits and social enterprises to recognize the power of building an effective board. Therefore, Echoing Green commits to expand Direct Impact by offering its Fellows a new suite of tools and resources to help them develop the skills necessary to build an effective board.
Diversity is a core component of successful boards, and Echoing Green acknowledges that a gap currently exists. As such, Echoing Green will work toward having diverse cohorts of participants in Direct Impact, creating a pipeline of diverse talent to serve on the boards of its Fellows organizations.
The pilot trainings for Fellows will coincide with the inaugural Direct Impact program in the Fall of 2015. A second iteration will be offered in the Spring of 2016. Support for Fellows will include the following:
Webinars: Echoing Green will develop and offer two training webinars available to its 600 Fellows, one of which will focus on building an effective fundraising board.
Consultations: Over the course of the commitment, Direct Impact program staff will individually consult eight Fellows to surface their specific needs and help equip Direct Impact and its participants to create more effective board leadership.
Trainings: Over the course of the commitment, Echoing Green will hold two in-person trainings for a minimum of four Fellows and their board members that will address basic board responsibilities and the principles that govern exceptional boards as outlined in The Source: Twelve Principles of Governance That Power Exceptional Boards. Washington, DC: BoardSource 2005.
Manual: Echoing Green will develop a manual for all Fellows that will provide guidelines for developing an effective board.
Direct Impact participants will identify five Fellows whose work most aligns with their passions/interests. This is followed by a call to determine the following:
1. Time capacity
2. Give/get ability
3. Skills assessment
4. Stage of the organization theyre most excited about
Fellows meeting specific criteria (existing/U.S. based board; nonprofit organization; at least four board meetings per year; basic board member job description) will be matched with Direct Impact participants based on the following:
1. Needs (skills marketing, finance, etc.)
2. Give/get need
3. Time expectations
4. Board composition
Fellows will be required to join a pre-match webinar on the following:
1. How to refine the board job description
2. Board onboarding/orientation
3. Board Best practices (forming committees etc.)
4. Board member accountability and evaluation
Matching begins! Over the course of the commitment, Echoing Green aims to match at least twelve Direct Impact participants with Fellows in order to serve on the board of their nonprofit or social enterprise.
In addition to providing financial support, Guggenheim Partners is a thought partner for Echoing Green in its ongoing effort to create innovative programming in support of the social sector. Two Guggenheim Partners employees will be part of Echoing Greens inaugural Direct Impact cohort.
Training for Echoing Green Fellows will happen in conjunction with the Direct Impact program.
Offer fundraising webinar. Hold consultations with the pilot group of eight Fellows.
Develop and offer a new webinar and hold consultations with a second group of eight Fellows. Conduct two in person trainings for a minimum of four Fellows and their board members.
Publish manual with guidelines for developing an effective board.
The Matching process for each Direct Impact cohort begins upon completion of the program (the September cohort will begin the matching process in December). Over the course of the commitment, Echoing Green aims to place 12 participants on Fellows boards within six months of the completion of their cohort
According to McKinsey, only 17% of nonprofit executives and directors believe that their boards are as effective as possible. Research from BoardSource shows that just 17% of nonprofit board members are under the age of 40. These numbers speak for themselves: investing in next generation (under 40) leadership is going to be critical to ensure that governance is effective and doing the most good possible. Nonprofit boards traditionally focus on fundraisingyet 83% of board members dont feel adequately prepared to fundraise. Further, just 19% of CEOs believe that the majority of their board members are engaged. These statistics are staggering, especially since a board is a crucial part of an organizations success. However, the statistics are not surprising given that the majority of nonprofit board members receive no training. While for-profit boards tend to be more effective, they do not generally engage next generation individuals in service.
When strong, a board can move an organization forward and do much more than fundraising (though it is a critical component). The best boards venture beyond the traditional focus of raising funds, selecting CEOs, and setting high-level policy
the best boards also provide professional expertise, represent the interests of their nonprofits to community leaders, recruit new talent to the organization, and provide the more rigorous management and performance oversight that funders increasingly demand (McKinsey Quarterly, The Dynamic Nonprofit Board, May 2004 by Paul J. Jansen and Andrea R. Kilpatrick).
To transform the way that individuals are prepared for board service, Echoing Green created Direct Impact, a four month leadership and board training program with immersive experience for young business professionals identified as high-potential future leaders. Upon completion, participants receive a certificate of achievement and have the opportunity to apply to serve on the board of Echoing Green Fellows, who represent more than 600 emerging social enterprises around the world. While participants are not guaranteed a board position, Echoing Green believes they will be strong candidates, and will include them in the matching process for up to two years upon completion of the program.