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Associations Now

Practical Guidance for Volunteer Leaders


By: Keith Skillman, CAE

Summary: ASAE's new "Busy Board" booklet series kicks off with strategies for good governance and successful fundraising.

"Good governance is intentional—rather than accidental or incidental." That's a critical takeaway from the first installment in the new "Busy Board" series from ASAE's Association Management Press. And intentional governance begins with well-prepared board members, which is the aim of this set of brief yet substantive publications designed for volunteer leaders.

Two editions in the series are available now, and more are in planning; each can be read in about a half-hour. The first is The Governing Board: Key Responsibilities for Boards and Board Members, by association and nonprofit governance expert Nancy R. Axelrod.

Axelrod goes well beyond the three fiduciary duties of boards to concisely brief readers on key strategic responsibilities, oversight of organizational assets including the chief staff officer, and characteristics that distinguish great boards. The booklet also offers 10 tips an individual board member can use to help make his or her board high-performing and effective.

The second installment, Fundraising Without Fear: A Board Member's Guide to Raising Money, was compiled by writer and editor Karla Taylor from insights shared by board and fundraising experts and practitioners. The booklet tackles everything from why the staff can't go it alone to tips for making the ask, well, fearlessly.

Both booklets, at $12.95 for ASAE members and $16.95 for nonmembers, are available at Quantity discounts are available, as the series is intended for distribution to boards as an orientation tool and serves as a good complement to the Associations Now Volunteer Leadership Issue.

Keith Skillman, CAE, is vice president, publications, for ASAE. Email:

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