Sunday, April 3, 2016

Amazon Pueblo Director's 2015 - Spring 2016 report: News, volunteers, plans and money (It's long!!!)‏‏

Greetings Amazon Pueblo friends, family, and supporters!

This report is, in brief, what has happened during the past 15 months.  It also discusses a bit of where we may go in the future.

Figure 1 Getting ready for the village's anniversary celebration.  The village was 22 years old on March 12.

Our Direct Work in the Village

Building a Dock and Stairs with the Villagers
The dock and concrete stairs are nearing completion.  A small house has been built on the dock, occupying about a third of the floor space.  The house will be used as a small store.  Another room will be built and attached to the house, which will serve as a storage area for motors.  Half of the floor must be replaced and painted well.  The stairs have been completed thanks to Stephan, a volunteer from Switzerland.  I created a blog post last week.  Hundreds of guests benefited from the dock and stairs on the village’s 22 year anniversary held on March 12.

This, the second phase, was funded in part with the help of our first grant from the Colombian government.  (The first phase was completed by the project at a cost of about $750.)  They gave about $800 in materials.  Amazon Pueblo spent an additional $200 in costs, for phase two, that were not covered by the grant.  To finish phase two we must build another small room, place doors and windows, fence off one side of the dock, and apply a lot of paint.  We have the materials, we are only missing volunteer workers from the project and village to complete everything.

Life Vests
We have 20 adult life vests and at least 10 child life vests (the child vests will be arriving with Alex, our newest volunteer from Thomaston, ME!).  When the rooms on the dock are manned and lockable, we will house half of the vests in the motor room.  The other half of the vests will be stored in the project’s guest house.  The vests will be loaned, library-fashion, after a deposit is given.  When the village chief is leading a group outing, and assumes responsibility, the vests may be used without giving a deposit.

Community Gardens
We received approval for a $570 grant from The Flannel Shirt Fund (Mid-coast based organization) to put four community gardens in La Libertad.  The first garden will be placed next to the school, is strongly supported by the teachers, and its operation will be incorporated into the school’s curriculum.  All of the gardens will be built by volunteers and community members.  The vegetables are expected to greatly help to improve the nutritive value of the villager’s diets.

We hope to have two volunteers in the village in April to start the school’s garden.

After we make the school's garden, we will build three more for the community.

Figure 2 Cani the dog.  She recently survived an accidental machete strike to the head.  She has survived three other family pets.  Life is hard in the Amazon.  She is a sweet dog!

Water Well
One of the things that we tried to do, but were unable to complete this year, was a drilled well for drinking water.  Due to geologic conditions an adequate well is VERY expensive to drill.  We have been working with Gonzalo Jimenez from the Colombian NGO Agua y Vida, as well as an engineer from a company that sells drills and has experience in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon.  We have a weathered rock type that is almost impermeable.  We must drill an estimated 200 meters to reach an adequate aquifer.

The machine that we need costs in the neighborhood of 120,000 USD to buy, and is not found in our part of the Colombian, Brazilian, or Peruvian Amazon.  For this reason our water/sanitation proposal costs 34,000 USD and relies or a huge rainwater harvesting, purification, and delivery system.

We meet last year’s goal of having at least six volunteers work in the village.  We hope to double that in 2016!

In addition to volunteers in the Amazon, we have seven board members and many family and friends who volunteered well over 200 hours of time in the USA and other countries.  They attended fundraisers, craft fairs, and communicated to keep the project running.



Ben -10 weeks in the village doing mostly construction and planning.  Six months in Leticia with short-term stays in the village.

Jeff Sires –2 days in the village doing water/sanitation assessments, and construction

Beki and Sabrina -3 days in the village.  Beki took high quality pictures for us.  Sabrina was a dentist from Canada who gave dental exams and advice to the villagers.

Beatriz and Paloma -3 days in the village teaching circus skills, and assessing La Libertad for bio-construction projects.

Figure 3 Pouring chi-cha de yucca (a traditional fermented beverage made from cassava) into a 55 gallon drum.  Over 400 gallons of chi-cha were prepared for the anniversary event.


Ben  –three weeks in the village doing construction projects, holding meetings, and organizing work projects.

Stephan  -4 weeks.  Stephan is from Switzerland.  He has been visiting La Libertad for the past 7 years.  This year we wanted to volunteer with the project for an extended time.  He worked with the villagers to build the concrete steps to enter the villager from the river.  He also did a lot of repair work on the house, kitchen, and our volunteer water systems.  He has been a great help to our efforts.

Fernanda -4 days in the village doing work projects, collecting population and health data, and providing health advice.

Rebecca  -1 week in the village doing work projects, collecting population and health data, and providing health advice.  Rebecca also helped me in Leticia for 1 week to write the initial grant proposals for the water/sanitation projects and the cacao pilot project.  She assisted with the change in mission proposal, our strategic planning, and in talking with government agencies.

Mike -2 days.  Mike was befriended by Rebecca in a hostel in Leticia.  He was traveling in the region and decided to help with the project.  He worked hard with Stephan on the kitchen repairs.  He hope to return next year.

Buildings in La Libertad
Our buildings in La Libertad include a six person guest house, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a chemical storehouse.  All of these building need constant maintenance.  In 2015 we finished all the construction on the buildings, finishing the bathroom with a full-sized, sit-down (not squat) toilet.

Gustavo’s Pay
In order to register the guest house with Migration Colombia, we were required to enter into a contract with Gustavo, the land owner for our buildings.  Gustavo is renting the land to us.  He is also doing grounds keeping services, light cleaning, and making sure that the buildings are not broken into and robbed.  We are paying 55,000 pesos ($17) per month, plus benefits.

For benefits Gustavo may use the guest house, free of charge, for tourism when it is not occupied by volunteers.  And he may use our boat (we have no motor), tools, water tanks, and the kitchen/bathroom for tourism.

Internet in La Libertad
Internet communication is very important for the village school, people, and for the project’s volunteers.  Without a reliable connection, long-term volunteering in the village is difficult.

The internet in La Libertad is not currently working.  It is provided by a service called Vive Digital.  The money for it comes from a variety of sources, including money from Colombia and grants from the USA.  There are about $20,000 USD in equipment/installation costs at La Libertad’s elementary school.

For the project to fix the internet will take research, multiple levels of permission in different government agencies, much travel and phone time and costs, and our buying of replacement hardware which is broken or deficient.  Alternatively we can spend time identifying and visiting the agencies responsible for the operation of the internet in La Libertad, continuously informing them of the deficiencies, sending reports to the supervisors of the people responsible for the internet service.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spend in the area (funded by the Colombian government through the taxing (2.2% of gross revenues) of telecommunication companies).  But the service does not work reliably.

Figure 4 Dancing on the night of the anniversary.  The celebration lasted for three days!

Health Services
The time when we can help with the health services is when we are in the village.  This mostly comes in the form of advice or giving a Tylenol.  We have helped to dress wounds as well.

Most recently our two volunteers, Fernanda and Rebecca, gathered health data on the villagers.  They found illness (mostly related to water quality) and diseases in 100% of the houses surveyed.  They organized a trip of villagers to the health clinics of Leticia, which they financed with their own money.  The majority of people who were with them were women and children.

Project and villager relations in La Libertad

High-visibility projects
The volunteers are usually well-received in the village.  This is especially true when the villagers can see what the volunteers are doing.  Stephan, who built the steps, was one of the most visible volunteers that we have ever had.  Sabrina, Fernanda and Rebecca organized trips for the villagers to receive healthcare services –another very visible service.  The next project that we do, building community gardens, we expect to be very popular.

Low-visibility projects
Less obvious services include data collection, helping the community to access government agencies, and the research/design of grants.  The support we give which enables volunteers to visit the village, safely and somewhat comfortably, also uses a significant portion of the project’s money and time.  However, these services are not easily seen or understood by the majority of the villagers.

Figure 5 Cooking the village meal.  They received a whole cow as an anniversary gift from the mayor of Leticia. 

Thankfulness –or lack thereof
One thing that the volunteers have commented on is the lack of thankfulness of the villagers.  At times it seems like the villagers receive a service, do not say thank you, and then leave without saying good bye.  After speaking with professional healthcare providers at the clinic in Leticia, they mention this same trait.  The villagers themselves admit this.

Where this comes from is unknown.  It is probably cultural, but is this from their indigenous tribal customs?  Is this a result of the village’s reliance on receiving much government aid?  When asked if they are happy the villagers respond affirmatively.

Slowly, some people in the village recognize the work of the volunteers.  One family gave us a bunch of bananas when we were collecting health data.  One time the village chief told us that he was genuinely grateful that we were trying to work with the government and to help the village to apply for grants.  It is important that volunteers understand these cultural differences.

Association of Farmers, Fishermen, and Artisans of La Libertad

The Association is probably the tool that we may use most effectively to accomplish our mission in the village.  We may apply for government grants, foundation grants, and contract with other businesses through the association.

Figure 6 Soup for all!  This soup is called sancocho.  It is made with beef, water, many vegetables, and spices. 

Work Outside of the Village

Office in Leticia

We opened an office in Leticia in 2015.  The office in Leticia was desperately  needed.  It has the most stable internet connection.  It operates as a base to receive the volunteers, to store supplies, and to act as a meeting place for other people we deal with in the Amazon.  It is also a place to stay away from the bugs, with 24 hour electricity, food refrigeration, has close access to quality food, merchandise stores, and health care.

When the project volunteers leave the Amazon for extended times to return to the states, we  place all the furniture, appliances, and supplies into storage in La Libertad.  When we have a long-term volunteer return to the Amazon we can rent a space in Leticia and move everything back.

The hostels in Leticia are an untapped resource for volunteers traveling in the area.  Next year we plan to post in local hostels in an effort to recruit volunteers with the skills that we seek for the project.

Governor’s Office
The governor’s office has been a help to us in securing a small grant to do the improvement to the dock and stairs.  Now that we have successfully completed one project, they may be more willing to do more work with us.

Fundación Amazon Pueblo
Fundación Amazon Pueblo is the Colombian legal entity that we need to be able to receive volunteers legally and possible for us to be able to receive government or foundation grants in the future.  The support of this requires us to submit yearly paperwork and to pay yearly registration fees.

Figure 7  Making farina from yucca.  Farina is high in protein and stores well, but it is very labor-intensive to make.

Other NGOs and Organizations

                ASITAM is an association that is made up to represent the indigenous tribes of the region.  They were formed seven years ago in response to the heavy corruption in the Colombian Bureau of Indigenous Affairs.  All the money that was sent to the former Amazonian bureau by the federal government was used by the agency to administer projects that were never completed, or even started.  The tribes successfully won a lawsuit which enabled ASITAM to be formed, and for the money to go directly to them. We have met with them one time.  They are interested in working with us.

                Habitat Sur is a Colombian NGO run by a Letician woman.  They specialize in helping the indigenous people of the Amazon to improve their housing conditions (among other things).  They have volunteers come to the Amazon and work in bio-construction workshops and projects.  They are also interested in sponsoring a study of the difference between perceived and actual corruption in the Amazonian government.  They have met with us twice.

               Agua y Vida is a Colombian NGO run by an English and Spanish speaker, Gonzalo, who went to college in the USA.  He has extensive experience in drilling wells and heading up water projects in the Amazon.  He is the most responsible Colombian I have met that is working in development in the Amazon.  He returns my phone calls!

Gonzalo is willing and able to manage the water and sanitation project in the village.  This means that we can help to secure the funding, they he will do the work.  His pay is included in the budget proposal.

Figure 8 The soda table at Christmas dinner.  We fed the kids first, and the adults after.

                Religion.  We have met with some religious leaders in Leticia.  They are interested in helping the villagers of La Libertad.  Some religious leaders have worked with the people in La Libertad in the past.  There are two main religious groups in this area.  The Catholics and the Christians.  The Christian seem to be mostly Evangelicals.  The people of La Libertad have two churches that were built in the village by the villagers), but no permanent priests or pastors.  When asked, the villagers say that they definitly want an increased religious presence in the village.

                ENAM is the business that supplies the electricity to La Libertad.  They have worked with us in the past to improve the electrical system in the village.  They may be putting in a large array of solar panels within the next year, which has the potential of supplying power to the village, when combined with a diesel generator, for up to 13 hours per day.  We approached ENAM about placing an electrical water turbine in the river by La Libertad, but the cost was very prohibitive, considering that their electrical payment are government subsidized by 90%.  When we do have the need for more electricity due to our cacao processing plant, then the turbine may be a more attractive option.  Unfortunately they are not good at returning phone calls or emails.

                SINCHI is a government-financed agricultural scientific investigation agency.  They have experience growing cacao, and other plants, in the Amazon.  They can help to provide the technical assistance that we need.

                ProAmazonas is an association formed by successful businesses and business people in the Colombian Amazon, mainly from Leticia.  Their mission is to support the improvement and development of the Amazonian region in the areas of business, education, and governance.  They have events and offer workshops in Leticia.

Organizations on Facebook.  Facebook seems to be the way to communicate here.  Government agencies, politicians, foundations, and businesses all seem to actively use Facebook as a way to get out their messages and to receive feedback or to keep in touch.

Figure 9 The main deck of the village dock.  It still needs some work, but is almost finished.  Anyone who would like to come down and volunteer will be warmly welcomed!

We have received two grants this year for a total of about $1,400.  We have grant proposals ready to submit to the Coca Cola Foundation and USAID.  During my trip to Bogota we hope to identify other sources of funding.  Finding and applying for grants can be a full-time job in itself!

We now have a membership to Funds for NGOs.  They offer training on grant writing, leads on grants, and many other resources.  They focus on international development NGOs, like us.  We had a membership to Grant Station, but that was geared more for organizations in the USA, with few international resources.

Trip to Bogota, late March
On March 16 we traveled to Bogota.  W had originally planned to go with the chief and secretary of the village, but due to ticketing problems the villagers were not able to go.

We met with the Colombian Federation of Cacao Growers on March 17.  They looked over our proposal for producing cacao, made some recommendations to the plans, and expressed interest in working with us now.  They, together with Sinchi (an agricultural science agency of the Colombian Amazon), can provide us with almost all of the technical help that we need.

On March 22 we met with APC Colombia, the Colombian Agency of International Cooperation.  They help to receive and distribute funds from international sources (governments, foundations, NGOs).  I introduced our program to them, presented the cacao and water/sanitation projects, and asked if they can help to identify funding sources for the projects.

They were very receptive to our work.  The person I met with, Dora, grew up in Leticia.  She has visited La Libertad in the past.  Our contact in the governor’s office in Leticia, Sully, is known to Dora.  Dora suggested that I meet with the mayor of Leticia and the governor of the Amazon upon my return to Leticia.  She also said that it is a great advantage that we are registered as a non-profit in both Colombia and in the USA.  Dora is going to review our materials and send grant application that are applicable to our work to us.

On March 29 we met with the Small Grants Programme of the United Nations.  They may supply grants for projects that would support our mission, up to $50,000 USD.  The SGP came to Colombia in 2015.  They do not currently work in the Colombian Amazon, but may be there in the future.  It is good for us to develop an early relationship with them.

Figure 10  I am inside what will be the store on the village dock.



First, the numbers, and then the brief analysis.

Income and Expenses for 2015

Income for 2015

1,062 profit from goods sold (emeralds, handcrafts, food, t-shirts)

8,610 donations (includes money from raffles and donations of goods)

4,000 loan


13,672 total income

Expenses for 2015

4,000 loan repayment

554 cost of goods sold

1,441 housewares, appliances, and electronics

3,703 construction materials, repair costs, labor costs, tools

1,159 administration, office supplies, and application fees

361 phone, online services, utility payments

334 fundraising fees

911 travel, transport, shipping

382 program support costs (clinic and school)

60 other expenses


12,905 total expenses

Income minus expenses for 2015


Assets as of December 31, 2015

3,147 in cash/checking account (2380 cash brought forward from 2014)

3,650 value of buildings and boat in La Libertad

558 the cost of our inventory of goods to sell (emeralds, handcrafts, food, t-shirts)

Income and expenses for 2016 until March 20


761 in grants, money donations, and donations (includes $570 of restricted funds for community gardens)


570 for community gardens grant

105 for government raft grant

843 (prepaid rent until May 21)

256 construction and tool costs

48 administration/ supplies/utility bills

256 transportation

228 internet fees (prepaid until May 8)


2,306 total expenses until March 20

Cash available as of March 20, 2016


Figure 11 A micro futbol tournament, women’s team


The year 2015 was by far the largest for us in the terms of fundraising and expenses.  The largest single expense category was construction.  This was due to an upgrade of all of our buildings, as well as paying for the materials required to finish the village dock and concrete stairs.

The upgrade to the buildings was done to make them more rot-resistant.  This included replacing many rotted boards with better-quality wood, painting with better-quality paint, and undercoating all of the structures with wood preservative.  We also did repairs to the roofs, screening, and water systems.  Over time these upgrades should require less maintenance and repairs to be done in the future, resulting in overall savings.

Our largest one-time expense was the $400 501c3 federal non-profit application fee in the USA.  We also had smaller one-time registration fees for the Colombia version (Fundación Amazon Pueblo) of the project.  Other on-time expenses include many of the appliance needed for the office in Leticia, which will be moved to the guest house when I am away from the Amazon for extended periods.

We are slowly transitioning towards supporting more of our programs with grant money.  I hope this trend continues in 2016 and beyond.  One very good thing, in 2016 we are ending our presence in the Amazon with a surplus of money, rather than a $4,000 deficit!

Projected upcoming costs

March 21 until June 21

200 travel and transportation
300 construction and labor
500 handcraft and emerald purchase for fundraising
302 administration, supplies, and unforeseen expenses
300 possible fundraising event in California in June

Budget for 2016

Our fiscal year runs from January 1 until December 31.  However, we do the majority of our fundraising in the summer and early fall.  By June 2016 it is expected that we will be out of funds.

Last year’s budget was not accurate.  I had estimated that we would receive major grant awards, which did not happen.

Additionally, the budget was not clearly broken into programs with direct and indirect costs applied to each program.

Here is a provisional budget for January 2016 until June 2017.  It includes the $3,147 we had on January 1, 2016 as well as the estimated $6,000 we need to fundraise for all expenses until June, 2017.

2016 – June 2017 budget

Management and General Expenses

Rent (administrative percentage) 200
Internet (connection) 100
Office expenses 100
Travel 100
Equipment purchase 100
Business fees 100
Phone expenses 50

$750 total          



$700 total

Volunteer Support Program

Rent (program percentage) 500
Internet (connection percentage) 300
Office expenses 50
Phone expenses 40
Travel 200
Building maintenance 500
New construction of meeting/general purpose building $400
Equipment purchase 300

$2790 total

Business Development Program

Rent (program percentage) 500
Internet (connection) 300
Office expenses 50
Phone expenses 50
Handcraft and emerald purchases 500
Travel 700
Equipment purchase 400
Grant project support 1000
New construction of meeting/general purpose building $400

$3400 total

$7,650 complete budget for 2016

Figure 12 The dock and new concrete stairs

Fundraising goal for 2016

Last year we raised over $9,600 through sales and donations.  This year we expect to need a minimum of $6,000 to maintain, and improve, our current level of service based on the upcoming budget.

Our fundraising goals should only support our operating budget and program goals.  Money for projects (cacao production, water/sanitation, processing cassava, or other projects) will come from grants.  The work for which the grant money is supplied will come from a combination of volunteer service (volunteers from both Amazon Pueblo and from the village), and paid skilled labor which is included in each grant budget.  The volunteers’ work is considered a donation-in-kind.  This will meet, at least partially, the co-funding requirements set by many grant donors.


Buying emerald and handcraft to sell
Our emerald and handcraft inventory is low ($128 emeralds and $198 in handcrafts).  We have budgeted $400 to buy emeralds and $100 to buy handcrafts.  We expect to pick up a few silver/emerald rings, five pairs of emerald stud earrings, three or four pairs of drop earrings, and maybe one earring/pendent set.

Possible fundraising in California
We have been thinking about having a small dinner/fundraiser in California in June.  It could be a traditional Colombian meal for which we would ask for a suggested donation of $5 to $10 dollars/plate.  We could serve Cuba Libres and natural lemonade for drinks.  We can sell emeralds and handcrafts.  I would give a presentation and have a question/answer period after the meal.  We already have a volunteer to help cook the food.  We have budgeted $300 for this event.  We have not yet picked a location.  This may be something we can also do in Maine.

Fundraising in Maine
We can hold another Piranha Party Fundraiser in Rockland or Thomaston.  Band (Sarah J?), place, and activities to be determined.

We can also start to visit church groups and civic organizations to solicit help in the form of donations of money, supplies, or volunteers.  Now that we are a more established organization with definite accomplishments we feel more confident about acceptance by other people.

Internet campaigns
Our internet campaigns have not been that successful in the past.  Mostly people who know about us already have donated, with no new people contributing.  However, we feel that in the future internet campaigns are a way for people to donate to specific part of our program that they may feel most passionate about supporting.  The key to an internet campaign’s success to have our directors and strongest supports be actively engaged with their social media friends in the campaign’s promotion.  We have some articles on how to do this in inoffensive ways, which must be passed along.

Grants are the way in which we hope to fulfill our mission, using our current business strategy.  The volunteers help to fill out the grant applications, identify by who and how the project will be administered, then provide support to complete the project.  With time and training, we hope that the members of the Association of Agricultores in La Libertad will be able to take on, effectively, the processes needed to apply for and manage a grant.

Figure 13  Making chi-cha de chontaduro

Business compliance paperwork
We have filled out and submitted all the paperwork and fees for us to be in compliance with Maine, California, and the IRS for the US-based Amazon Pueblo.  In Colombia the paperwork and fees have also been completed for Fundación Amazon Pueblo and the Asociación de Agricultores, Pescadores, y Artesanas de La Comunidad de La Libertad.

Volunteer coordination
Volunteer coordination takes up between 3 and 50 hours per week, depending on the number of volunteers that must be coordinated.  We respond to at least 3 volunteer inquires per week.

We have registered the project with four different volunteer job websites.  One of these, Volunteermatch, has the potential for us to be able to custom-tailor our volunteer needs, to collect and give information about our program, and to be connected to business social media site LinkedIn.  However, we must have our program developed to a point where we can successfully manage the volunteers that come to us.

It may be best to start recruiting volunteers that help us with the operational side of the project.  These would be professional-trained people who could do things like accounting, governance, social media, assistance with volunteer coordination, website design, grant writing, and project research.

The buildings are in fairly good shape, especially after the help that we received from Stefan, but they need constant repair work and more preventative maintenance.  We will include this in the 2016 budget.

This April we will be building a storage shed under the guest house.  This building will be used to store things from the project’s office in Leticia.

Project boat
The boat’s sun and rain roof has rotted off.  The whole boat has about one year of use left in it.  We must also borrow a motor form the village if we want to use it for long distances (just about anything more than fishing around the village).

One day in the future we may budget for a 7.5 meter aluminum boat, with a sun/rain roof, and a 15 hp outboard motor.  This would work well for weekly village transportation, emergency transportation, and to be used when needed by the project volunteers or villagers to support our work in the village.  The cost of this is $5,000.

Issues with the boat:

  • who decides exactly when and how the boat will be used
  • who will operate it
  • where will the maintenance costs come from
  • who will pay for the gasoline
  • where will the boat and motor be stored
  • who is responsible to see that the boat and motor is not stolen
  • what happens when the boat and motor is stolen

Figure 14 Carmen with her father and brother.  Her father wants to try mechanically processing yucca for a farina business.

Public Relations
We are slowly working on a new website.  We hope it will be ready by this summer.  It is much easier to do in the USA, as the connection speeds in Leticia are slow.

In the future we hope to see more volunteers and board members do blog and Facebook posts.

We need to improve the project's governance.

Here are some things that we will be working on this year:

  • Have four scheduled board meetings per year
  • Record better meeting minutes
  • Make the board meeting minutes available online
  • Create Staff and Volunteer Policies manual
  • Create a Fiscal Policies and Procedures manual

Below are some additional governance issues that we are addressing.  This list is an adaption of the governance recommendations developed by researchers at Stanford University.  They are for larger organizations than us, however the recommendations are good and a starting point from which we may work towards improvement.

1. Ensure the mission is focused, and its skills and resources are well-aligned.

2. Ensure the mission is understood by the board, management, and key stakeholders.

3. Establish explicit goals and strategies tied to achieving that mission.

One of the executive director’s primary tasks is to develop goals and strategies that will make meaningful progress toward achieving the organization’s mission. The board must ensure that the theory of change and the logic/business model to do so are sound.

4. Develop rigorous performance metrics that reflect those goals.

Meehan quotes Einstein, who wrote, “Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted counts.”   We must develop performance measures that are pragmatic and useful.

5. Hold the executive director accountable for meeting the performance metrics, and evaluate his or her performance with an objective process.

Our board needs to establish an annual evaluation process for the executive director.  A rigorous process is necessary in and of itself but also as a basis for thoughtful succession planning.

6. Compose your board with individuals with skills, resources, diversity, and dedication to address the needs of the nonprofit.

Our nonprofit lacks the core of a few members who are willing to devote the time, energy, and skills to ensure the board takes on its full responsibilities. Excellent board composition is not a conceptual challenge – it is about the hard work of finding and adding one more strong board member (and then another).

7. Define explicitly the roles and responsibility of board members.

We have not well-defined the basic expectations of board members; like attendance and engagement. Most critically, board members need to understand what their time and financial commitments will be, personally as well as in reaching out to others.

8. Establish well-defined board, committee, and ad hoc processes that reflect the nonprofit’s needs and ensure optimal handling of key decisions.

Our boards has never had an official committee made of board members. What do we need in terms of governance, development, finance, and audit committees? We may also need other committees like programs/operations, marketing, etc.   Can we create a temporary task forces for strategic planning or capital campaigns?

9. Regularly review and assess each board member and the board’s overall performance.

Adapted from:, 03/30/2016

That’s it for the report!

Thank you to everyone for their help with the project.


Would you like to help?  Please visit our website at the link below!

No comments:

Post a Comment