Ep 37: The Partnership That Drives a Thriving Nonprofit (with Kim Freedman and Nick Purrington)

nonprofits are messy

What is the single best indicator of a thriving nonprofit?

Ask five people and you’ll get five different answers. But I believe the answer is a strong partnership between the board leader and staff leader of the organization.

I think of it as a twin-engine jet with the Executive Director (or equivalent) and the Board Chair as co-pilots. When this partnership is working well, everyone gets to the destination on time and with minimal turbulence.

So I thought about how interesting it would be to have BOTH co-pilots on the podcast at the same. So today I spoke with the both the Head of School and her Board Chair to get their thoughts on how this partnership can help an organization fly smoothly.

About Kim Freedman

Kim is the Head of School at New Garden Friends School, a K-12 Quaker school in Greensboro, North Carolina. She came from the for-profit sector and moved into the nonprofit world in a variety of ways. She started an ADHD camp in Greensboro, worked in higher education in communications and social media and before taking over as Head of School at New Garden Friends, was the school’s Director of Admissions.

About Nick Purrington

Nick, the Board Chair at New Garden Friends School, is an attorney who founded Purrington Moody Weil LLC with offices in Greensboro and New York specializing in representing private investment fund managers. He is also a strategic advisor to The Center for Board Excellence.

In this episode:

  • How to make the time to be a great board chair, even when you’re insanely busy
  • Ways to leverage corporate experience in working with your board
  • The 3 most important words that define the partnership between the staff and board leaders
  • Fostering great communication: How often should you meet? Who sets the agenda? How do you decide the appropriate altitude of the conversation?
  • How to be the bearer (and the receiver) of bad news
  • Our guests’ best advice to others in their respective roles

Episode Links:

Joan Garry
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Joan Garry

Widely known as the "Dear Abby" of nonprofit leadership, Joan works with board and staff as a strategic advisor, crisis manager, change agent and strategic planner. Joan also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on nonprofit communications and leadership.
Joan Garry
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