Stages of Non-Profit Development and Board Life Stages

No two non-profits are the same. Understanding where your organization is in its development will help focus and prioritize the board’s work. You will recruit for different types of board members depending on where you are in a life stage, as well.

Many writers have given different names of phases of non-profit growth. Here are a few curated resources:

Organizational Life Cycle Stages based on Susan K. Stevens’ work.

Handout on Stages of Board Development & Board Life Stages from Board Passages: Three Key Stages in a Nonprofit Board’s Life Cycle, Management Assistance Group.

Group Decision-Making Skills

At all stages of organizational development, program boards and staff can always strengthen their skills for healthy group work and decision making that reflects inclusive peer values.

Participatory Decision Making

A method for including all voices in decision making, developed by Sam Kaner and Community at Work. The method is explained in a book called The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision Making. Buy the Facilitator’s Guide on Amazon here.

“The third edition of this ground-breaking book continues to advance its mission to support groups to do their best thinking. It demonstrates that meetings can be much more than merely an occasion for solving a problem or creating a plan. Every well-facilitated meeting is also an opportunity to stretch and develop the perspectives of the individual members, thereby building the strength and capacity of the group as a whole.”

Request a VOCAL staff person to facilitate a meeting for your group or board of directors.

NonViolent Communication

A method of interpersonal communication that examines our own judgements to build trust and peace, developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenfield. One of his many books is Speak Peace in a World of Conflict. Buy the book from Puddle Dancer Press.  Or, learn more at the NVC Online Academy.

“If “violent” means acting in ways that result in harm, then much of how we communicate — with moralistic judgments, evaluations, criticisms, demands, coercion, or labels of “right” versus “wrong” — could indeed be called violent.

Unaware of the impact, we judge, label, criticize, command, demand, threaten, blame, accuse and ridicule. Speaking and thinking in these ways often leads to inner wounds, which in turn often evolve into depression, anger or physical violence.

The concepts and tools of Nonviolent Communication are designed to help us think, listen and speak in ways that awaken compassion and generosity within ourselves and between each other. Nonviolent Communication helps us interact in ways that leave each of us feeling more whole and connected.

It ensures that our motivations for helping ourselves, and each other, are not from fear, obligation or guilt, but because helping becomes the most fulfilling activity we can imagine.”

Request a VOCAL staff person to demonstrate NVC techniques for your group or board of directors.