Governing Boards: From Good to Great | Craigslist Foundation

Governing Boards: From Good to Great

Presenter: Lynn Luckow, Vance Yoshida

Subject: Leadership, Nonprofit Management

Presented in: 2011

Four key steps can create great governing boards, agreed Lynn Luckow, President and CEO of the Craigslist Foundation, and Vance Yoshida, Senior Manager at La Plana Consulting. To transform a board from good to great, it’s important to get the right people “on the bus,” create a high-impact environment, focus on the end rather than the means, and provide ongoing training for board members.


“It’s the ability to come together and work together as a team,” said Yoshida, who suggested choosing board members the way you would select players for a sports team. A key element is focusing on “understanding the folks they serve.”


“Who on the board is engaged, and who is not?” Luckow asked. “This is part of the process of bringing the right people on board.”


Both panelists stressed the importance of finding people who are passionate about their work—they will tell your story, and dream with you.


Implementing member rotation cycles and accountability, through self-evaluation of members, and the board as a whole, are critical to success. “If you don’t like the rules, then change them,” Luckow said.


To stay effective, boards must create a vision of where they want to be in three years’ time; they must bring in people who can do what they need, and keep goals in mind. To make positions attractive to potential members, boards must create excitement through training and resources. Boards that can adapt, keeping members’ duties reasonable and leadership disbursed, can make the leap from merely “good” to “great.”