Finance · Fundraising · Leadership · Meetings

Episode 42: Breaking the rules

There are a lot of rules that guide nonprofit practice. We name three in this episode: Robert’s Rules of Order, overhead rules, and best practice rules that we hear at trainings or in conversations with others. Where did these rules come from, and why do they matter? In this episode, Nancy and Sarah talk about what kinds of rules we face as nonprofit leaders and what rules we can break–should break!– as we build strategy and intention around our programs and practice. 

Question to reflect on before you listen:
What rules do you find most limit how your nonprofit goes about achieving its mission?

Discussion questions:

  1. What resonated with you about this conversation? What would you like to take back to your organization?
  2. Nancy and Sarah talked about the difference between rules from above (like laws and government policies) and rules from the grassroots (“best practice” rules that come from practitioners). How do you sort out the difference in your practice?
  3. Name a rule that Nancy and Sarah discussed, such as overhead should be no more than 20% of expenses or Robert’s Rules of Order for running meetings. How can you take the purpose behind the rule to create an intentional approach to that issue for your organization?

Word of the week: Rule
What does “rule” mean to you when it comes to your nonprofit? What is your organization’s culture when it comes to rules?

For more on overhead and ways to meet:
Overhead myth (from Propel Nonprofits)
Roberta’s Rules of Order
The Circle Way


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