All A-Board Blog & Resources

This is a listing of resources and articles that we have collected from the community.

A Recap of Breakfast Club 2016 by Carolyn Bishop
Published: 5 months ago by Lauren King.

If you haven’t heard, Breakfast Club has been All A-Board Alliance’s best-kept secret for the last two years.  This event was created for staff liaisons to offer support and build discussions around different topics to better support their associate boards. We have had an incredible turnout throughout the year, but we want to see more of you because it’s our attendees who make this monthly group so great!

 

Why should I...

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Restructuring Associate Boards: A Conversation with Lookingglass Associates Board President Lindsay Knight
Published: 7 months ago by Sarah Hurwit.

Associate boards, by nature, are unique animals in the philanthropic sector. Made up of young professionals who have the drive, passion, and time to devote to their favorite causes but not necessarily the networks or access to fundraising that governing board members do, the lifecycle of an associate board necessitates a regular examination of its role in the larger nonprofit organization as well as the involvement of its members.

The Lookingglass Associates Board (or LAB,...

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Meet the AABA Team- Elizabeth Slawin
Published: 8 months ago by Lauren King.

General Bio

Liz Slawin is a lifelong Chicagoan and loves being a part of the All A-Board Alliance to learn about and support the non-profit organizations which make this city better every day. Prior to her time with AABA, Liz studied finance at the University of Notre Dame. Upon graduation, Liz joined the junior boards of Lawrence Hall and the American Cancer Society. While seeking out these non-profit boards, she realized resources were scarce but opportunities...

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Meet the AABA Team- Joe Nixon
Published: 8 months ago by Lauren King.

General Bio

Joe Nixon is a proud alumnus of Bradley University, where he studied mathematics and secondary education. After college, Joe earned an MA in Higher Education Administration from Washington State University. Guided by a desire to help others, Joe worked for six years in student affairs at various universities, including Western Illinois University and Arizona State University. In his time working at institutions of higher education, Joe...

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Board Service as a Professional Development Tool
Published: 9 months ago by Lauren King.

Serving on an associate board is a form of civic engagement. It’s a recognized way to give back to the community. While I absolutely agree, I also think that sometimes people overlook another major benefit of serving on a board: professional development. Serving on an associate board can provide transformational learning opportunities.

 

At work you are often given tasks based on what you already know how to do. Serving on a board, you have the opportunity to...

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Get Your Tickets for CharityScenes Social 2017!
Published: 10 months ago by Elizabeth Fu.

The CharityScenes Social on January 31st will be your opportunity to get involved in the new year! Meet 20+ non-profit associate boards and learn about ways to volunteer, fundraise, socialize and develop professionally. Grab a drink and chat up other like-minded young professionals as you explore some exciting opportunities in Chicago! The event will be held from 5-8pm at Joe’s on Weed St. Tickets (includes admission, one drink, and appetizers) are...

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One more day to apply for the CharityScenes Social!
Published: 11 months ago by Lauren King.

Applications are due November 30th. Here's the application: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QZ87DFJ


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Reflecting on the Election
Published: 11 months ago by Lauren King.

Reflecting on the Week: A Message from Our Co-Founder
This election season has highlighted the existence of several key social issues that clearly divide Americans. While associate board service may not be an obvious solution to bridging the divide, we know that it offers you a chance to serve alongside people from multiple fields, to immerse yourself in a social cause you may not otherwise fully understand, and to be actively engaged in community issues.

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#GivingTuesday and #ILGive Resources and Tips for Associate Boards
Published: 12 months ago by Lauren King.

For the past five years, #GivingTuesday has served as a charitable antidote to the consumerism of the holiday season. After the indulgences and purchases of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are done comes this annual day of giving, which falls on November 29 this year. Each year more and more nonprofits participate in what has become a national movement to promote awareness and donations online. With a little less than a month to go, it’s not too late for your associate board to create...

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Recruitment Processes: Insights For Effectively Growing Your Board’s Membership
Published: about 1 year ago by Elizabeth Fu.

Membership is an important aspect of the life and longevity of any board association. I’ve been a member of the Chicago Public Library Foundation (“CPLF”) Junior Board for over 3 years now, and I have served as the Membership Committee Chair since January. With the transient nature of Chicago young professionals, board membership ebbs and flows, and we have had to fill a substantial number of spots over the year. This task can seem daunting at first, but putting the right...

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Mission Matters by Elizabeth Slawin
Published: over 1 year ago by Lauren King.

One of the easiest questions that a non-profit can answer is "What are you trying to achieve?" Unfortunately, when you stop to think about it, it can also be one of the hardest questions to answer. It's easy to recite the buzzwords we so often hear like "cure," "educate," "fundraise," or "bring awareness." Alternatively, the question may evoke passionate and lengthy responses and you risk losing your audience as they doze off. It's...

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The Illinois Budget Crisis: 4 Key Questions to Ask Your Nonprofit Organization by Sarah Hurwit Gomel
Published: over 1 year ago by Lauren King.

Illinois is currently the only state in the country without a budget, and there is no end in sight. While the $600 million recently approved for higher education gives us some hope, the State has yet to adopt a budget for fiscal year 2016, which started on July 1, 2015. Without a budget to detail how revenue will be increased or spending will be cut, Illinois is currently spending far more money that it has and education and social services are put at risk.

The nonprofit...

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Beyond Give-Get: Rethinking standards of participation for associate boards
Published: over 1 year ago by Lauren King.

It’s a familiar conundrum for many associate boards: members have lots of passion, but not lots of cash.

The young professionals who typically comprise an associate board can prove a powerful resource for any nonprofit organization.  We bring a wealth of enthusiasm to our volunteer endeavors, gladly leveraging our time, energy, and networks to further the causes close to our hearts.  But we are also at the beginning of our careers, establishing...

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January 2015 Board of the Month: BBBS Chicago
Published: almost 2 years ago by Lauren King.

Many associate boards have a gala event as their marquee fundraiser each year. These events can be a huge time commitment for board members and volunteers, but also a wonderful way to expose new audiences to your cause and, at the end of the day, a lot of fun!

We reached out to Teresa Sullivan of Big Brothers Big Sisters Chicago for some tips and tricks on organizing big events. Its annual Big Bash gets bigger and better each year; read on to find out how they do...

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An Insider’s Guide To Starting A Non-Profit Without Funding By Lena Kazer
Published: almost 2 years ago by Lauren King.

It starts with that obnoxious word on the lips of every Ted Talk. The word that is practically inscribed in the binding of every guide to start your own business. 

 

Passion.

About one week into starting the Chicago hub for Travel+SocialGood, a non-profit that aims to turn the travel industry into a vehicle for positive global impact, I started leaving a notebook next to my...

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Highlighting Board Service in a Resume
Published: almost 2 years ago by Lauren King.

Serving on a board offers an excellent opportunity for professional development. However, it can be difficult to articulate this in job applications. All A-Board Alliance recently sat down with Stefanie Hicks, staffing consultant at Northwestern University (and who also recently joined an associate board) and asked about the best ways to highlight board service in a resume.

Here are her top four tips:

 

-Focus on specific skills that were...

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How to Manage an Effective Meeting by Kevin Scott
Published: almost 2 years ago by Lauren King.

The meeting revolves in circles stuck on the same question; the meeting that is a two way conversation with eight other listeners; or the meeting where everyone is thinking to themselves: What are we trying to accomplish? Meetings, many times, are considered a productivity killer but are the most essential medium to organize your team, convey an idea, and execute a plan. Here is a framework and tips to run an effective, efficient meeting that leaves your team members feeling inclusive,...

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Madeline Nies powerpoint presentation on Content and Social Marketing Strategy
Published: almost 2 years ago by Lauren King.

Special thanks again to Madeline Nies for sharing her expertise on Content and Social Marketing Strategy for Associate Boards! Click here for the powerpoint slides.


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Tips from the Girls on the Run-Chicago Associate Board
Published: about 2 years ago by Lauren King.

This feature come belatedly to the article we ran in CharityScenes in August, but we’ll pick up the pace on the next blog! See below for some great ideas from the Girls on the Run-Chicago Associate Board.

 

Switch things up – GOTRC has had much success with their current structure which encourages each board member to serve on a committee. To keep things fresh,...

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Networking Events Tips and Tricks by Sarah Hurwit
Published: about 2 years ago by Lauren King.

Networking events can be intimidating for even the most confident person. The idea of striking up conversations with strangers, not to mention making the most of your limited face-to-face time, leaves most people wondering where to begin. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of any networking event, just in time for All A-Board Alliance’s joint happy hour with EPIP Chicago and YNPN Chicago on September 2!

·      Set...

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More than Professional Networking by Payal Kothari
Published: about 2 years ago by Lauren King.

So, you're done with college and you have your first job. You’re jet-setting along trying to figure out your career path. Friends are starting to get married, or moving away for new job opportunities, and you realize that your circle of friends is slowly starting to shrink. Maybe even the friends that you do have are starting to have less in common with you. You, then, start investing more of your time into a charity that you’re involved in and quickly learn that associates...

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Suggestions from a Start-up: Associate Board of the YMCA of Metro Chicago
Published: about 2 years ago by Lauren King.

John Tocora has spent the last year drawing on personal experiences and those of his fellow board members to build out a sound structure for the new associate board to support the YMCA of Metro Chicago. He's put into action a lot of great ideas and has volunteered to share them with our associate board community. Here are some of the unique ideas and considerations that came up during their start-up process.

1) Get an elevator pitch and practice! Every board member...

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5 Tips for Associate Boards from City Year Chicago
Published: over 2 years ago by Lauren King.

1) Tell your members and prospective members what is being asked of them.

Don't let the volunteer aspect of the board member role deter you from being upfront about what is expected of board members. Do you have time, financial, or other expectations you want each member to fulfill? Be upfront about that. 

2) ...and what they will get in return.

Ultimately, your best board members will join and stay involved...

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Help the AABA Win a Catchafire Membership!
Published: over 2 years ago by Sarah Hurwit.

Hi All A-Board Alliance,

The All A-Board Alliance is being considered for an exciting opportunity. We recently entered a contest to win a Catchafire membership. Winning a Catchafire membership means that we will get access to 30,000 skills based volunteers, 80+ capacity building projects and potential to unlock some serious impact. This membership will help us get to the next level by giving us extra resources to hone our mission and drive our next stage of...

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Capturing Your Mission
Published: over 2 years ago by Lauren King.

Although Associate Board's all have an element of fundraising, they do vary in their mission. Crafting an accurate and engaging mission statement can be the key to attracting new members who are a good fit for the board. The Children's Research Triangle Associate Board was kind enough to share their mission statement. We would love to hear from other All A-Board Alliance Members about what key elements they highlight in their own mission statement. Has your mission statement...

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5 Tips from an Associate Board Staff Liaison
Published: over 2 years ago by Lauren King.

by Nicole Camboni, City Year Chicago

I had the pleasure of acting as the staff liaison for the City Year Chicago Associate Board (http://www.cityyear.org/chicago/about-us/leadership/associate-board) for two years. Here are some things I learned that I think are worth sharing:

 

  1. Be Proactive in Providing Information

Associate...

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From Associate Board to BOD
Published: over 2 years ago by Lauren King.

We sat down with Ray Padilla, who has extensive experience with Associate Boards. He served on both the Junior Achievement Associate Board and the Chicago American Red Cross Auxiliary Board. He was also a co-founding member of the Center for Economic  Progress (CEP) Associate Board.  He currently serves on the CEP Board of Directors. We reached out to learn his perspective on how Associate Boards and Board of Directors can engage to enhance both of their...

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The Importance of a Strong Executive Team
Published: over 2 years ago by Lauren King.

Usually working closely with a staff advisor, the executive team of your a-board sets the agenda for the board’s year. The challenge for executive teams is to come together as a team quickly, because there is usually little time before everyone is off and running to achieve the year’s goals.

Perhaps the most significant step is recognizing the importance of approaching the year as a team. If an a-board’s recruitment effort fails, it will be nearly impossible to...

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The Cost of Disengaged Donors
Published: almost 3 years ago by Elizabeth Fu.

We often focus our energy on getting new donors, but the real key is to cultivate our existing donor base. Two-thirds of potential donors are lost by organizations. Who are these two-thirds? They are habitual/repeat donors who an organization may recognize, but doesn’t know how to further engage. This is a key takeaway I heard at a recent fundraising workshop.

How do different boards and organizations overcome this hurdle? I’m intrigued by this predicament and raise...

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How to Recruit Dedicated Long-Term Members
Published: almost 3 years ago by Gopi Vajravelu.

Membership is the most talked about topic among All A-Board Alliance participants. All boards have challenges recruiting good members. Associate and Auxiliary Board members join their organizations to help the community but that’s challenging with all of the demands in their careers and personal lives. Executive committees and staff can get frustrated trying to find good recruits and then having to start over again when their new members leave the board. Creating common...

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In Your Professional Development Tool Kit: Networking Know-How
Published: almost 3 years ago by Maureen Fishback.

“Know-How” is not a term I particularly care for, but I did not want to use “Networking Skills” because I believe anyone can network, and get something out of it, as long as they have the right game plan.  As any high-achieving professional will attest, networking is the key to job promotions and new opportunities.  You know networking is important, but it's also a little intimidating.  This blog will help you develop the skills you need...

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Logo's Matter
Published: almost 3 years ago by Lauren King.

A huge thank you to Alison Kuczwara for designing the All A-Aboard Alliance logo!  She took time to understand our mission, as well as our style preferences. The end result embodied forward movement along with a nod to our unique name. We love it! In case you are thinking about a logo for your organization or board, we wanted to share the following mini interview with Alison.

 

1) Why do you think it's important for organizations to have...

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The Art of Securing Donations
Published: almost 3 years ago by Elizabeth Fu.

A friend recently asked how to secure prizes for her organization’s charity bingo night. This is a common question as securing raffle prizes and small donations is something we all do as associate board members of non-profit organizations.

Before reaching out to any business have in hand the organization’s 501(c)(3) determination letter as well as a letter on the organization’s letterhead with information on the organization, event, date and location as well as...

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3 Ways a Staff Liaison is Important
Published: almost 3 years ago by Lauren King.

During the fall All A-Board Alliance meet-up, discussion arose as to the role of a staff liaison. The panelists shared insight that demonstrated the value to the nonprofit organization, as well as the associate board.  When I served as a staff liaison, I was new to the associate board world and thus had to learn lot along the way.  Most distinctly, I learned that the role is multifaceted because the staff liaison is the bridge that connects the associate board to the agency. For...

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Fundraising DOs and DONTs
Published: about 3 years ago by Lauren King.

When planning a fundraiser:

  • DO be creative and find ways to tie the fundraiser to your organization’s mission.
  • DO develop events that you would attend, even if it were not a fundraiser.
  • DO seek out donations to keep costs low, but when members ask for donations, be specific, you are more likely to be successful asking for a $50 gift card than simply asking for a donation.
  • DO be creative in where you host...

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