YOU and Your Nonprofit Board: Advice and Practical Tips from the Field’s Top Practitioners, Researchers, and ProvocateursBrian Fraser is lead provocateur of Jazzthink, a consulting and coaching company that focuses on governance, strategic planning, and leadership. The firm uses the wit, wisdom, and workings of jazz as a model for nourishing flourishing in and through your organization.

Brian is a contributing author of YOU and Your Nonprofit Board: Advice and Practical Tips from the Field's Top Practitioners, Researchers, and Provocateurs (CharityChannel Press).

Brian has been practicing, researching, and teaching nonprofit wellness for over four decades. His base is within the Presbyterian branch of the Christian church, where collaborative and constructive governance that contributes to justice, kindness, and humility holds a special place of honor. That's the theory, at least. Getting to that ideal in your unique context and conditions is what Brian helps people do. And using jazz as a model makes it fun as well as effective.

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Vision Statement: Is Your Organization Playing the Right Melody?

I’m constantly surprised by leaders in organizations dismissing the importance of a clear, concise, and comprehensible vision statement as an essential tool for coordinating collaboration. It should be lucid, illuminating the core purpose the organization serves. It should be short – fifteen words max, preferably fewer. And it should be made up of words that are loaded with value and feeling. That’s what makes them understandable and sticky. You can remember them easily. They can refocus and align your hearts and heads quickly in the midst of distractions and disputes.

Governing the Networked Nonprofit

Nonprofits operate in a networked world. The web shapes the environment in which everything happens these days. Your reputation in this increasingly open world depends on how well you manage your presence on the web. Safeguarding and enhancing that reputation is one of the key responsibilities of the governing board of your organization. Customers, clients,…

Conversations that Change the World: Voice, Vibe, and Value for Good Governors

Governance is only as good as its governors. What you do in governing is only as good as how you are being in governing. You do governing by having conversations with each other. But how are you being in those conversations? Is your voice generating a vibe that is likely to create value for your…

Governing Yourself for Productive Board Work

There is a pattern to the problems that lead nonprofits to engage consultants and coaches.  The reasons boil down to dysfunctional teams of some kind – staff, boards, board committees, advisory groups, or other teams of people passionate about purpose.  These dysfunctions are often a mix of lack of clarity in direction, lack of inspiration…

Generating Good Vibes in Governance

Governing is a musical art. It is practiced through the sounds of the conversations board members have at board meetings and through the dance of implementing their decisions. The intricate choreography among what Ryan, Chait and Brown call the fiduciary, strategic, and generative modes of governance (cf. Governance as Leadership) takes place primarily through the conversations boards…

Govern Like a Jazz Group: A Core Chart for Optimal Flow in Nonprofit Governance

Think of the last board meeting you participated in at one of the nonprofits in which you are involved. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), rate the flow of the meeting. Think of flow as a process in which the achievement of purpose progresses unimpeded. It’s something like a stream with no…