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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

LESSON 30 - The Truck Driver Was No Match for the Faith-Filled Board Chair

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Gregg Hunter and Ed McDowell are our guest bloggers this week for the third of three lessons in "Part 9: Holy Ground and Other Locations.”


LESSON 30 OF 40 - The Truck Driver Was No Match for the Faith-Filled Board Chair
Don’t stop at “All in favor say aye.”

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 In Lesson 30, we read how powerful a board member’s impact can be when he or she commits to intercede—and act—on behalf of the ministry. This lesson relates the story of how an early board chair of SAMBICA camp near Seattle followed up on the board’s vote to approve the building of a tabernacle—a place greatly needed for gatherings and worship.

The problem: the vote didn’t lead directly to funding and construction. Instead, the board chair at the time, Charlie Johnson, took action—going to the camp property to fast and pray for three days. Then, when it looked like God was delivering what was needed, Johnson grabbed the opportunity and brought the construction of the building to reality.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 30, pages 152-155: 
There’s something very different about what Charlie Johnson did and a board focusing on camp operations. His actions were not geared toward directing how things should be done at camp, nor taking on pieces of its ministry operations himself. 

With the board’s approval already given, Johnson saw a need and sought to meet it. Neither money, nor supplies, nor builders were lined up and ready to begin construction. So, Johnson acted: he went to the Source of funding and supplies and prayed. He applied his resources of time, passion and commitment and in the end got a front-row seat to God’s delivery—literally—of what was needed.

A board chair we know often says, “The board is first and foremost a spiritual community called by God to govern a piece of Kingdom work.”  Johnson understood this and took it to heart.

OUR COLOR COMMENTARY:
A friend told me [Gregg] about how a new board of a local youth ministry gathered decades ago to see if they could bring the ministry to the high schools in their area. They all agreed to serve on the board, they agreed to attend the meetings and encourage the leaders—but they had no funds to hire a local director. 

This friend recalls each of the four or five board members going together to a local bank and signing their name to a promissory note that would provide funds to pay the soon-to-be-hired director. He remembers some hesitation, but also recalls his commitment, first to the ministry, then to raising the money to pay back the note!  He was invested, spiritually, emotionally, and financially—and he has stayed invested for nearly 60 years!

Countless kids have met Christ over those decades because of that ministry, and it all started because a group of board members took action to supply what was needed. They realized they didn’t need policies and a three-year strategic plan at that time—they were the plan!

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY GREGG HUNTER (CEO) and ED McDOWELL (Board Chair):
Gregg Hunter is president/CEO of Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA), and is responsible for the overall strategic direction of CCCA in its efforts to maximize ministry for its members. He is passionate about Christian camping because of the life-changing impact it had on his own life. At 17, he committed his life to Christ on his first trip to a Christian camp. Over his career, he has served in leadership roles at Georgia Family Council, Young Life, and The Boeing Company.   

Ed McDowell is the CEO of Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center in Stanwood, Wash.  He also leads Thriving Boards, a board coaching initiative of the Christian Camp and Conference Association. Ed also does consulting with a special focus on board development and problem-solving with fresh perspectives. He and his wife, Bev, live in Stanwood, Wash., where they enjoy their family.

TO-DO TODAY: 
• As a board member, take spiritual action in prayer and/or fasting regarding a significant issue for your ministry.  
• Invite other board members to join you in this spiritual action.
• Expect to get a response from God, because He does answer.   




NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On June 20, 2018, watch for the commentary by Al Lopus on Lesson 31, "Cut the Cord! Invite Board Members to Exit When They Don't Live Your Values. If you want a healthy board, recruit healthy people."

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, June 6, 2018

LESSON 29 - Think and Pray Outside the Box—and the County

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. David Curry is our guest blogger this week for the second of three lessons in "Part 9: Holy Ground and Other Locations.”


LESSON 29 OF 40 - Think and Pray Outside the Box—and the County
Discern your Big HOLY Audacious Goal (carefully).

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 Is it God’s will that you operate without a compelling vision, scrimping by year-to-year and losing momentum? Then make every effort to pray and organize towards a God-sized vision for your ministry. Expand your experience by visiting other ministries, getting out of your own county to see what God is doing—and CAN do—through you and your ministry.

In Lesson 29, we read the story of Willard Heck, founder of New Life Ranch, who had a big vision for what God could do in northeast Oklahoma. His faith and vision led to a big, audacious dream that has touched many lives. But it isn’t just founders who can receive a big, HOLY audacious goal. God is stirring many leaders and boards today to expand their vision beyond survival and day-to-day living—and into something that is both audacious and aligned with His will.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 29, pages 147-151: 
• “Leaders can lift a board’s vision by reminding them of God’s work in other locations. Not only do you need to think outside the box, sometimes it helps to think outside the county.”
“Resist the temptation to focus only on budgets, blueprints, and buildings. Instead, embrace those goals that focus on the people God is calling you to reach and serve.”
• “What target is so big, so audacious, so needing the faith of zealots, that only God can deliver?” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
The tyranny of the day-to-day—budgets, meetings, and yearly events to sustain life and keep the lights on—can overwhelm most leaders and sap our energy, leaving little that could be used to power a big, God-sized vision. Yet, counterintuitively, if we start with the big idea that we feel God led us to pursue, and aligns with His will, then the energy and resources for the day-to-day often take care of themselves. In the end, we are left with something we could not have done ourselves, but that has sparked an imagination in the teams and people that God has surrounded us with.   

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY DAVID CURRY:


David Curry is CEO of Open Doors USA, which advocates for and supports persecuted Christians in the areas of the world most hostile to Christian faith. He is the author of four books, including First Aid for Enablers: Ten Treatments for Enablers and the Addicts They Love. Curry is also a regular contributor to Fox News and other media outlets.  He lives in Santa Ana, Calif., with his family.

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Visit inspirational settings to spark your imagination and vision.
• Think, pray, and discern God’s direction for the future. Does He want you to live simply day-to-day, or is He prompting something bigger?




NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On June 13, 2018, watch for the tag-team commentary by CCCA's Gregg Hunter (CEO) and Ed McDowell (board chair) on Lesson 30, "The Truck Driver Was No Match for the Faith-Filled Board Chair. Don't stop at 'All in favor say aye.'"

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, May 30, 2018

LESSON 28 - Slow Down and Wait on God

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Jerry White is our guest blogger this week for the first of three lessons in "Part 9: Holy Ground and Other Locations.”


LESSON 28 OF 40 - Slow Down and Wait on God 
“He does not bestow his gifts on the casual or hasty.”

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 In Lesson 28, Lorne Sanny (second president of The Navigators) is quoted on “How to Spend a Day in Prayer.” But the issue for boards is how to best discern God’s will and direction. That is almost a meaningless pursuit if time is not spent individually and together seeking God.

It is not just a matter of specially seeking God for a specific leader, but rather to have been praying and seeking Him all along. It is the regular habit and practice of prayer that opens the door for God to reveal His leading. It also is not a “magic formula” that we try when we are particularly needy.  

The practice of three-fold prayer habits lay a foundation for guidance: Pray without ceasing, a daily Quiet Time, and extended times of prayer.  In the midst of these practices—God speaks. It is the individual board member, in concert with others of like mind and heart, who will see God guide. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 28, pages 142-146: 
• “One very common leadership mistake is to think that we can take a group of undiscerning individuals and expect them to show up in a leadership setting and all of a sudden become discerning.” (Ruth Haley Barton)
• “During earlier years Dawson [Trotman] spent countless protracted time alone with God, and out of these times the Navigator work grew….by promises given to him from the Word.”
• “These special prayer times can become anchor points in your life, times when you ‘drive a stake’ as a landmark…” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
I once gave a message entitled “Life in the Slow Lane.” My wife laughed, commenting that I needed to slow down first. I never find it easy to take time to reflect and pray. It is a discipline that come hard. God had to get my attention several times, often in crises, to slow me down. Once it was through my son’s death. Another time it was through overwork and depression. Since I am so prone to action and activity, I found that I have had to discipline myself to take time to read, to reflect, and to rebuild. I am learning (I wish I could say “I have learned”) to take times during the year to do this. I find that I am often encouraged by the writings of godly people such as Horatius Bonar, E. M. Bounds and J. Oswald Sanders (a mentor of mine).  

I became much more reflective, thoughtful and prayerful through my 18 years of leading The Navigators—where I could not “make it happen,” but had to rely on God and others to do what I could not do. I began to see the consequences of action without deep prayer, counsel and reflection. “Seek first…” and “in everything by prayer and supplication...” have become my pattern as I have grown in my leadership and in my own maturity. What is more, key members of my board checked up on me regularly on how I was doing in my personal walk. 

Finally, let us not just assume that the CEO or board members are seeking God. Let’s help them do it. Let’s make that a priority in both selection and execution of CEO and board. 


THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY JERRY WHITE:


Dr. Jerry White is President Emeritus and Board Chair Emeritus of The Navigators. During his 13 ½ years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force, he served in many capacities, including an assignment as a mission controller at Cape Kennedy during the height of the American space program. He earned his Ph.D. in Astronautics from Purdue University in 1970 and was an associate professor of astronautics at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. General White resigned from active service in 1973, and then spent 24 years in the Air Force Reserves in a number of assignments, retiring in 1997 as a major general.  

He has served on numerous boards, including ECFA, and Jerry and his wife, Mary, have written 13 books on practical topics such as work, ethics, and parenting adult children, including: Rules to Live By, To Be a Friend: Building Deep and Lasting Relationships, and The Joseph Road: Choices That Determine Your Destiny. Jerry and Mary have four children, 11 grandchildren, and live in Colorado Springs, Colo., where Jerry is also a nationally competitive handball player!

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Begin today to slow down! Listen to the meditative praise song, “Slow Down,” by Chuck Girard (Dunamis Music).
• Invite a friend or colleague to inquire of you regularly regarding your personal walk with God.
• See the three next-step reading options in Lesson 28, including Pursuing God’s Will Together, A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups, by Ruth Haley Barton.




NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On June 6, 2018, watch for David Curry's commentary on Lesson 29, "Think and Pray Outside the Box—and the County. Discern your Big HOLY Audacious Goal (carefully)."

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, May 23, 2018

LESSON 27 - Report Once and Report with Clarity

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Mike Pate is our guest blogger this week for the third of three lessons in "Part 8: Boardroom Worst Practices.”

LESSON 27 OF 40 - Report Once and Report with Clarity
Hearing the same report more than once is a “10” on the pain threshold!

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 In Lesson 27, we’re reminded that the quality of your board meeting experiences rests largely on the quality and effectiveness of your board reporting.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 27, pages 136-139: 
• “Reporting once and reporting with clarity can keep the board out of the weeds and focused on the mission of the ministry.”
• “Consider submitting committee reports to the board only if there is a potential action being recommended…”
• “For every detailed report, there should be an executive summary…”

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
One of the most frequent questions I hear from CEOs and board chairs is “how do we engage and keep great board members?” And one of the biggest complaints I hear from current board members is “meetings are tedious and dull.” Is it just possible that these two issues are closely linked?  

If you want to engage and keep great people on your board, don’t torture them with boring and redundant reporting. Few things make a meeting feel more irrelevant faster than long, overly detailed reporting. 

I’ve heard it said, (perhaps it was me that said this…) “There are few things in life worse than a bad meeting, and actually few things better than a great meeting!” The quality and clarity of your board reporting will go a long way to improving the engagement, and ultimately the effectiveness, of your board meetings!  

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY MIKE PATE:


Mike Pate serves as Executive Director of Camping for Transformation Ministries. He oversees five entities including three Christian camps and two outdoor education LLCs.  Mike has served as a coach with the Murdock Trust Board Leadership and Development Program and currently presides as chairman of the board for Christian Community Credit Union. He is also a Certified Canfield Trainer with the Jack Canfield Training Group.

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Consider using a one-page board meeting evaluation form after each meeting to gauge the satisfaction level of your board.
• If you don’t already, provide a brief “executive summary” for every detailed board report that highlights the most salient information. 




NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On May 30, 2018, watch for Jerry White's commentary on Lesson 28, "Slow Down and Wait on God. 'He does not bestow his gifts on the casual or hasty.'"

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, May 16, 2018

LESSON 26 - Spotting, Catching, or Exiting a Falling CEO

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Ed Morgan is our guest blogger this week for the second of three lessons in "Part 8: Boardroom Worst Practices.”
LESSON 26 OF 40 - Spotting, Catching, or Exiting a Falling CEO 
Watch for the critical signs.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 In Lesson 26, we’re reminded that a board uninformed, and asleep at the switch about the effectiveness of their CEO, is a failed board. That failure can cost the ministry everything—reputation, results and future potential.

There are plenty of warning signs along the way in this account—like a few departures of top talent, slow loss of major givers, and seemingly excused unbalanced budgets, to be sure. But the cardinal sin of omission by the board is the lack of yearly evaluations against board-approved goals.

Having the right CEO in place is the number one responsibility of a non-profit board—period! If you don’t have that, very little else matters.  

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 26, pages 131-135: 
• It all started with a two-year honeymoon with a new CEO—a common and understandable mistake—but that reduced accountability turned very costly.
• Before long the board had accepted an environment with reduced opportunity for the board to spot a failing CEO.
• What eventually happens in a lack of accountability situation is only obvious in the rear view mirror. Don’t let it happen to you. 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
It’s ironic and tragic—in a town or city where the ministries all know each other, often everyone knows about a failing CEO, but the board is the last to recognize it. I’ve seen it in New York.

So we have to ask ourselves, as this lesson advises, are we in touch enough to see what everyone else sees—or are we part of the problem?

The “case of the falling CEO” illustrates why board governance needs to be taught. How is it that 12 perfectly rational, sensitive, and relationally intelligent people can come together into a group—called a board—and get really dysfunctional?

It’s because board governance is a learned skill and learning to behave like a board, not an opinion gathering body, is an acquired skill. Catching and helping a falling CEO—relatively early—may be one of the signature things you look back on with satisfaction in your board service. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY ED MORGAN:


Ed Morgan is the President of Inspirational Leadership, LLC, which he founded after 22 years at the helm of The Bowery Mission in Manhattan. He remains President Emeritus there. He previously spent 20 years in executive communications at General Electric. Ed spends most of his time helping younger leaders these days, but also leads a board good governance program for the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions and its members. Ed and Judy, married 50 years, have two sons who are actually raising families in Manhattan—and it’s working!

TO-DO TODAY: 
• At your next board meeting’s executive session, ask the question: “Does everyone on the board believe we’re adequately encouraging and holding our CEO accountable?" Go around the room to make sure.
• If you don’t do a regular evaluation of your CEO, you have abdicated a key board responsibility and your organization is in danger. Get started this week! 




NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On May 23, 2018, watch for Mike Pate's commentary on Lesson 27, "Report Once and Report With Clarity. Hearing the same report more than once is a '10' on the pain threshold!"

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, May 9, 2018

LESSON 25 - Align Board Member Strengths With Committee Assignments

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Erika E. Cole is our guest blogger this week for the first of three lessons in "Part 8: Boardroom Worst Practices.”

LESSON 25 OF 40 - Align Board Member Strengths With Committee Assignments 
Leverage the Three Powerful S’s.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 In Lesson 25, we are reminded that we all have different strengths, social styles and spiritual gifts (which form the “Three Powerful S’s”). It is a mistake not to consider the unique qualities that each person possesses when considering committee assignments.

In this first lesson of Part 8: “Boardroom Worst Practices,” you will read how one board member states his awareness of his unique qualities, but finds a chairman who is less than receptive. This lesson encourages leaders to align board member strengths with committee assignments.

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and we honor Him and serve best as we seek to leverage our God-given strengths and gifts.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 25, pages 126-130: 
• Effectively serving on a board requires a certain degree of introspection. What are your core strengths? How can you most effectively contribute? In what ways may your personality, perspective, and purpose align with the vision of the board on which you serve?
• Board leaders who leverage the power of their strengths (visit the Gallup Strengths Center) have board members who are six times as likely to be engaged in board work, according to Gallup.
• “Can you imagine the incredible culture you could create for this important ministry if the board modeled a strengths-based environment for staff, volunteers, donors, and your customers?”

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
When we can help people leverage their strengths, social styles and spiritual gifts, we get to see them blossom. While 99.99% of attorneys focus on other practice areas, I have the incredible blessing of representing churches, ministries and denominations. Ironically, when I completed my law school application over 20 years ago, I indicated that I wanted to practice family law.  Family law?!?!  While there is certainly a need for excellent family law attorneys, I am glad that God moved me toward an area that reflects my strengths, social style and spiritual gifts.

For me, prayer is a key component to tapping into those God-given abilities.  Seeking His guidance is certain to provide us with direction as to how to leverage the gifts He has provided to us all.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY ERIKA E. COLE:


Erika E. Cole, Esq. is an attorney with Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLP, a law firm of over 160 attorneys serving clients regionally, nationally and internationally.  Known as The Church Attorney®, Erika has dedicated her life to helping churches of all denominations and sizes ensuring that their legal affairs are in order so they can focus on spreading their message, serving their communities, and growing their ministries.

For nearly two decades, Erika has partnered with ministries to address everything from church planting, new leadership transitions, buying and selling property to church litigation issues, and helping leadership address the spectrum of governance matters, including IRS matters. She is a contributor on the editorial board of Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax Report, and is on her second term of board service at ECFA. She can be reached at The Church Attorney or Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLP.

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Consider providing every member of your board the book, StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, and inspire them to complete the online assessment tool.
• Examine your board culture—are members invited to speak up, even when the discussion may be uncomfortable?




NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On May 16, 2018, watch for Ed Morgan's commentary on Lesson 26, "Spotting, Catching, or Exiting a Falling CEO. Watch for the critical signs."

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, May 2, 2018

LESSON 24 - Ministry Fundraising 101 for Board Members

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Scott Rodin is our guest blogger this week for the third of three lessons in "Part 7: Boardroom Best Practices.”
LESSON 24 OF 40 - Ministry Fundraising 101 for Board Members
Could your board members pass a pop-quiz of fundraising practices?

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 In Lesson 24, we are reminded of the importance of why board members must be aware and knowledgeable of how funds are raised for their ministry. As keepers of the fiscal integrity of the non-profit, board members are accountable for not only the quantity of funds raised to balance the budget, but the means by which they are raised, and how they align with the ministry’s values and mission. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 24, pages 120-124: 
• “The board should ensure that the ministry’s fundraising practices are ethical and reflect well on the ministry and its mission.”
• “The ministry’s most valuable asset is its good name. If a ministry engages in questionable fundraising practices, it can quickly forfeit a good name that took years to build.”
• “For a ministry that receives a significant amount of charitable gifts, few board responsibilities are more important than providing oversight of the fundraising process.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
There is an important underlying assumption in this chapter that we must not miss. It’s not only important that our ministry raises the funds needed for sustainability and strategic growth, it is also important, maybe even more important, the way these funds are raised. In fundraising for ministry, the end never justifies the means.

As board members, we must understand the ideology/theology behind our development strategy.
That will drive our desire for funds to be raised according to Biblical ethics, and used as the giving partner requests. It ensures the integrity and witness of our ministry, and reflects our own integrity as a board. That is the importance of this little chapter and it must not be missed if we are to be a board that does God’s work, God’s way for God’s glory.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY SCOTT RODIN:


Scott Rodin (PhD, University of Aberdeen, Scotland) has a passion for helping God’s people discover the freedom and joy of the life of a faithful steward. He is president of The Steward’s Journey and Kingdom Life Publishing and runs Rodin Consulting, Inc. He also serves as a Senior Fellow for the Association of Biblical Higher Education. Dr. Rodin has authored 14 books and he blogs weekly at The Steward’s Journey.

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Distribute, review and affirm your Gift Acceptance Policy.
• Ask your development leadership to produce a “Theology of Fundraising” document that describes the Biblical approach they take to raising funds for your ministry. (Editor’s note: See the six-page example in Development 101 by Scott Rodin and John Frank).  




NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On May 9, 2018, watch for Erika Cole's commentary on Lesson 25, "Align Board Member Strengths With Committee Assignments. Leverage the Three Powerful S's."

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.