All Aboard the Governance Train

Tuesday July 28, 2020 comments Tags: nonprofit, accounting, mission, vision, tools, infrastructure, systems, capacity building


Any accounting, business or tax advice in this here podcast is not intended as a thorough in depth analysis of your specific issues. It's not a substitute for a formal opinion. It is not good enough to avoid tax related penalties. Got to tell you this because don't want y'all coming for me.  Have you been wondering how the strategic plan and your finances work together? Join me on Tuesday, August 11th at 1:00 PM MT for an intense one hour session, where we will dive into your vision for your organization for the next three years and develop an outline to meet those goals and what the finances mean for that? So what systems are you going to need to have in place? What financial markers should you have? Be sure to sign up in advance so that you can get any pre-work materials that we send out so that you can make the best of our time together. Details to sign up will be in the show notes.  Welcome to this series with Rachel Miller-Bleich. If you want the full episode head over to my website; otherwise, here's a snippet.


Chyla Graham:

Hi, Rachel. How are you today?

Rachel Miller-Bleich:

I'm good, Chyla. How are you?

Chyla Graham:

I am good. So welcome to the Nonprofit Nuggets Podcast. Today we are talking with Rachel Miller-Bleich. Rachel is the CEO of MillerBleich Consulting, and they help nonprofits as well as professional associations do their governance work and make sure that they have a better understanding, a better grasp about what the governance body, be that the board or members of the management team, need to do to keep the organization running. Rachel, today, what are you celebrating?

Rachel Miller-Bleich:

I'm celebrating my family and my friends in ... I'll be real about the time that we're living in, post-COVID. My daily life is really very much about taking care of and valuing the people in my life who are most precious to me. Which means my husband, my daughter, and our friends and our wider community, trying to keep in touch with them.

Chyla Graham:

Well, good. That's so good. I feel like that's something I've been trying to do better about is I was like, "I'm going to text my brothers. I promise you, I will reach out to you." Not just putting it off indefinitely because we just don't like ... With all this happening, everyone's dealing with it differently. So I do love that making the time to be like, "Let me check in on these people."

Rachel Miller-Bleich:

Right. It's a time to really celebrate the people who we love the most and the things that we treasure the most.

Chyla Graham:

Yeah. So tell me a little bit more about you aside from loving your family and friends. Tell me more about you and your work.

Rachel Miller-Bleich:

Sure. I am very new to consulting actually. I've been working in the nonprofit and association management field for about 16 years. For the past 10 years, I've really hopped on the governance train, so to speak. I started specializing in managing governance. You could say I started from my first job out of college, which was for an association. I was an executive assistant. When you have that kind of job, the first thing that you find yourself doing is planning board meetings and stuffing board meeting. I found I started to grow professionally. I was really growing as an administrator, and when I stepped into my first management role it was one that focused specifically on managing governance. I was in graduate school at the time studying organizational science, and I really realized this is very fascinating and very interesting because so much of the health of the organization really depends on this office, it really depends on this function.

Rachel Miller-Bleich:

I was also wondering why isn't there more out there that really supports and studies and analyzes how to do this and how to do it well? There's a lot out there in terms of a boardsource ASE, has a lot out there. But I really found it's a very underdeveloped competency in nonprofits and in associations. It depends on how big the association or the organization is, and it was something that I just clung to as I have a knack for this, I'm really fascinated by it. So I really pursued opportunities professionally that really focus in on governance and really being able to develop good governance systems. Then when I moved into consulting a couple of years ago and I found that it was a really good opportunity to try to dive a little bit deeper into what are some of the components in addition to the inner workings of a board of directors, what are those components that are essential to governance, such as, do you have effective bylaws?

Rachel Miller-Bleich:

Do you have strong policies? How do you manage things like, which is very much in your world, the financial oversight piece. Those are things that I find in consulting I'm able to add capacity and help expand the capacity of organizations that need to devote more time and attention to that.  It really was an opportunity for me to say, "Hey, if you need more capacity to address some of these specific issues, I'm here to help."  I tend to work primarily with staff who really are the ones that are doing that work and really needing that kind of support. But I also make myself available to educate and provide resources for board leaders themselves because often, depending on the size of the organization, they find themselves having to do a lot of that hands on work.

Chyla Graham:

When it comes to doing that hands on work, what is a way that organizations can better maximize their time working with you?

Rachel Miller-Bleich:

I think that it sometimes comes to the point of just needing to take a bit a leap when it comes to committing to having the time and just making time. Right? Right? I hate to admit it, but it does take an investment of both time and resources. I don't tend to pretend that this work isn't time consuming as well. So sometimes I think it really has a lot to do with trying to identify that capacity, whether it's in terms of time or in terms of resources and being willing to make it a priority. Because governance on the surface, governance is not a money maker. It's not a primary service, it's not something that you can charge a fee for.

Rachel Miller-Bleich:

But when you think about governance as really the strategic wheel of the organization, if that's not healthy and if you don't have the systems and processes in place, your organization is going to suffer for it. You won't have much capacity to ensure the resources to fundraise, things like that. That would say a lot of it is really just about committing to doing some of the deeper work and building processes and being willing to identify new more systemized ways of doing things.



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