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Before You Say Yes ... A Guide to the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards Paperback – Mar 15 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Dundurn Press (March 15 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554887038
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554887033
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1 x 20.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #509,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Before You Say Yes ... has so much great advice and tips, even though it is a short and easy-to-read book. The book is useful whether you serve on your homeowner's association board, a nonprofit board, your church board, or a business and professionally oriented board. You'll learn board etiquette and responsibilities, about Robert's Rules of Order, how to deal with difficult people, and what a gift board membership can be to you personally and professionally ... Her book is clearly a quick and effective reference for all interested readers.(Five Stars)


This slim volume is practical, direct, and a sensible reference for those either considering a paid position, or a volunteer board position. (

Doreen Pendgracs has sat on various boards of directors for the past twenty-five years. During that time, she has gleaned valuable information that she shares in an easy-to-understand, conversational style for novices and seasoned members alike. Whether you're asked to sit on a trade union board, a non-profit board for a community group or church, a business-focused board of an association or chamber of commerce, or the board of a charitable organization, Before You Say Yes … gives you the inside scoop on what questions to ask and what you need to do before you take the plunge.

Ms. Pendgracs leads the reader through the intricacies of management style, board etiquette and responsibilities, Robert's Rules of Order, directors' and officers' insurance, and financial obligations and compensation. You'll also discover what happens in the case of a lawsuit or how to implement a disaster plan, how to welcome new board members and deal with difficult people, and what benefits board membership can bring to your personal life and career.

About the Author

Doreen Pendgracs has been a freelance writer, photographer, and public speaker since 1993 when she left corporate life to embark on a new career - as her own boss. She has co-authored two other books: Frommer's Newfoundland & Labrador and the Manitoba Book of Everything. Pendgracs has written dozens of articles for websites and numerous periodicals. She lives in Matlock, Manitoba.

Inside This Book

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Format: Paperback
Before You Say Yes...A Guide to the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards
This book is a quick read and must read for anyone considering joining a volunteer board or having to deal with a board of directors responsible for decision making in the non-profit sector. Doreen's vast knowledge is well illustrated in this book, as she shares a lifetime of experience as a volunteer board member and valued contributor to several non-profit associations. The book clearly identifies challenges faced by individual board volunteers, executive members and working staff within a given organization. The reader is able to evaluate how they might best contribute as a volunteer and learns how they might function as part of a team, comparing challenges faced by many organizations. The information helps the reader to understand board structure while providing useful guidelines that will help individuals and board members function to the best of their ability for the benefit of the organization.
Dawn Boshcoff, VP Marketing
Past President, PWAC Toronto Chapter
Professional Writers Association of Canada
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Format: Paperback
This 145-page guide to membership on volunteer boards is a gem. Open it to any page and you'll find something of value: a quick & simple guide to Roberts Rules of Order; a checklist of what makes for an effective board meeting; tips on how to best embrace virtual meeting technology; suggestions for how to be an effective board member; a chart of motivators that can drive people's actions; how to consider ' and manage ' the risk & liability you have as a director of an organization...and more.

Doreen Pendgracs' central message is important: If you're serious about contributing to an organization (for free!), then take the process of committing to that organization as a board member as seriously as you would consider taking on a job. It's about matching your skills and objectives with the organization's needs and it's about making sure that you mesh with the organization's culture. Too often, we join a board because our skills match their needs, but we forget to consider whether (or not) we'll 'fit' with the culture and the obligations inherent in board membership.

The structure of the book is reader friendly: Each chapter opens with a brief recap of the previous chapter and a short overview of the current chapter. This keeps the content clear in the reader's mind and makes it really easy to dip into the book here and there yet sill know exactly how the current chapter is framed. That's intelligent planning on the author's part.

The text is broken up with numerous useful graphic elements ' checklists, tables, charts, etc., which make the layout very inviting. Pendgracs has included lots of references and resources for further reading and research ' very helpful for those of us who can get lost on today's overloaded information highway!
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Format: Paperback
I have served on two volunteer boards, one I am still on. Even on the smallest board there is a lot to learn. I wish I had a source of information like this before I went on the first one, a board for my local library. There is knowledge that is necessary to know before going on a board, whether it is a local hall board or an international non-profit organization. Doreen has captured much of the basic information that someone would need going onto a board, of any size. It is laid out in chapters that make sense with each aspect of the process, from deciding to be on what board, to what you should do when you are there. Doreen has brought her real life experiences to this book, plus bring in comments from those that have served on boards, of all sizes and budgets, themselves. I recommend this book for anyone contemplating serving on a board, or have just started on a board.
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Format: Paperback
Volunteering seems a pastime of many, whether committed to a particular cause or perhaps as seniors wanting to donate time to favourite organizations. In her very readable and well organized book, Doreen Pendgracs walks readers through the pleasures of volunteer boards as well as some of the pitfalls of serving on them Her book covers matters that might occur on small boards or larger ones and includes information on matters like fiscal responsibility and how to deal with sensitive issues that could arise/ Pendgracs has thoroughly researched the topic and offers advice to potential board members in a very objective fashion. This book is a must read for people who are currently volunteering or are considering doing so in the future
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is invaluable for anyone sitting on a Board or considering the opportunity. It is well written with a friendly and conversational voice that makes it a pleasure to read.

Using insight from past and present members of boards - who share their ideas, challenges and tips - helps the reader understand the complexities involved in sitting on any Board. Topics like dealing with diverse personalities, Board etiquette, using technology for Board work and succession planning are just a few of the numerous and valuable components discussed in this book.

Any organization with a Board of Directors should ensure that their incoming Board members be given a copy of this book as an orientation and reference tool.
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