on December 23, 2010
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
on April 30, 2010
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! And she explains many terms that are often tossed around the boardroom table without explanation ' fiduciary responsibility, for example.
Written in a friendly, engaging style, the book is a compilation of the author's own experience on boards and the experience of people she has met over her 25 years of volunteering. Pendgracs doesn't have all the answers ' how could any one person or book claim that? ' but she certainly covers a lot of topics, including backroom politicking and dealing with difficult people. Anyone contemplating joining a board ' or wondering why they are still contributing to a board but getting nothing from the experience ' will benefit from reading this book.
on March 28, 2010
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.
on December 30, 2010
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
on May 12, 2010
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.
on March 28, 2010
If you have recently joined a volunteer board - or are thinking of joining one - and are uncertain about what to expect and what is expected of you, this handy, well-structured guide to board mechanics and politics is a lifesaver. Pendgracs explores your rights and responsibilities, the different types of volunteer boards and how they operate, real-life challenges of board membership, and how you can be most effective as a board member. More detail on the different roles board members play would have been useful.
on June 27, 2010
Doreen's book offers a comprehensive look at what it means to join and serve on a board - including finding a board that's right for you, board etiquette, and preparing for difficult situations. Having read "Before You Say Yes," I feel better prepared for my role as a director for the Toronto chapter of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. Doreen's succinct and well-written book is a reference that I will likely refer to again and again.
on March 24, 2014
Here's a small book that's easy to purchase and hand out to new or potential board members of your organization. It covers the basics including the emotional stuff about why people become board members, as well as board structure and meeting protocol. Worth the investment to buy one for everybody.
on January 17, 2012
For anyone who is currently on a board, thinking about joining a board, or just curious about people who do say "yes," this book is incredibly useful. It's written by someone who's actually been there, and done it many, many times. It's not some theoretical analysis, but is based on real-world questions.
on March 24, 2010
I was young and very green when I accepted my first board appointment. This book should be required reading for anyone who's seriously considering joining a board. I especially liked the anecdotes from people who've "been there" and the checklists.