Wanted: Courageous Board Members

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For too long, a myth has hung over the nonprofit community like a scary fog:  that nonprofit advocacy is somehow spooky. Nothing could be further from the truth, because advocating for missions is a core part of our sector’s proud legacy. If you eat in smoke-free restaurants, drive safely on divided highways, have a Social Security card, enjoy civil rights, or are a voting female, then you are benefiting from the past advocacy work of nonprofits – and board members. That’s why we are excited to let you know about a new campaign, Stand For Your Mission, launched to raise awareness - specifically among nonprofit board members - that being an advocate for the nonprofit’s mission is an important role for every board member to play.

Don’t just sit on a board: Stand for your nonprofit’s mission.

The Stand for Your Mission campaign calls on all nonprofit board members to stand up as powerful champions for the missions they serve. The campaign is designed to unleash the full potential of nonprofit organizations to advance their missions in their local communities by engaging board members more directly as advocates on behalf of their organizations.

Stand for Your MissionThe goals of the Stand for Your Mission campaign are to:

  • Bring about a sustainable shift in the understanding and expectations around board engagement in advocacy;
  • Move advocacy from an ancillary to a key board leadership role;
  • Strengthen the nonprofit sector’s ability to advance the public good.

Importantly, this new campaign is not being advanced by ghosts, ghouls, or goblins, but by trusted, mainstream organizations in the nonprofit and grantmaking communities that recognize the need to change the culture around nonprofit advocacy so it is embraced as an effective tool for advancing nonprofit missions: The National Council of Nonprofits collaborated with BoardSource, the Alliance for Justice (with its Bolder Advocacy initiative), the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Campion Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to curate a set of core resources for board members, CEOs, and grantmakers. Please share the Stand for Your Mission discussion guide as a useful resource with your board.

Download the Discussion Guide

Beyond advocacy, board members are called on as ambassadors of nonprofit missions to set audacious goals, be fearless, and be bold. There’s another quality that board members need: Courage. It takes courage to ask for money. It takes courage to speak up to ask questions around a board table. Courageous board members seek out new board members with diverse perspectives that enrich and improve their decision-making process. Just as the word “courage” comes from the Latin term for “heart,” courageous nonprofit board members care enough for their missions to not just sit there passively – they speak with their friends, community leaders, and even law makers, to advance their nonprofit’s mission!

Resources for courageous boards:


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