From: Susan Lee
Sent: Sunday, November 03, 2002 9:46 AM
Subject: skills and knowledge bases for LSB and PNB service
On Tuesday October 29, the WBAI Bylaws Committee held a discussion about
various aspects of the skills and knowedge bases for LSB and PNB service.
I'm posting (both pasting and attaching) the handouts I did for this
discussion which some people thought I should also put on the list serves
so that other areas might also, if they have not already done so, have such
a discussion with this handout as a starting point. When the general notes
for the meeting are ready, they will be posted.
Possible Discussion topics:
1) What are the skills and knowledge bases for the LSB and PNB service?
2) What does adherence and/or commitment to the Mission mean?
3) How do we recruit people with a wide enough range of skills?
4) Is there an election method which will enhance the possibilities of
getting this range of skills?
5) What if we don't get people with the range of skills? Possible answers:
a) Subcommittees of listeners and staff
b) Appointed seats
Skills and knowledge bases for LSB and PNB service
Susan Lee and Deena Kolbert
1) management skills: can identify problems and solutions within
station and national
4) FCC rules and regulations
6) Fundraising including visioning different types for station
7) Members that can raise money
8) Political: adherence to mission
9) Political: ability to defend the station from external and internal
11) Time to do it
12) Radio knowledge
13) Programming policy
14) Human resource knowledge
15) Union knowledge
16) Real estate: possible new location and dealing with current
17) Archival: station needs;
19) Non-profit board or non-profit administration experience
Lyn Garry 1-7, Adrienne Lauby 8, just about everybody 9, Andy Norris 10,
Susan Lee 11
1) The ability to work in a collaborative process
2) The ability to listen to others and take their concerns seriously
3)The ability to resist the temptation to abuse power or push one's
personal agenda at the expense of the whole
4) The ability to admit when one has been wrong, and take steps to
make the matter right
5)The guts to stand up to the powers that be in defense of Pacifica
6) The ability to withstand a barrage of input, often criticism, from
the community without becoming defensive or overwhelmed
7) The ability to do the work required of the specific position
8) Willingness to put this work 3rd or higher on their priority list.
9) Understanding of, and commitment to, Pacifica's Mission
10) The ability to speak as a lone voice over lengthy periods knowing that
someone hears you
11) The ability to ask questions.
Adapted from Anne Gardon's "Strengthening Boards of Nonprofit
1) Ability to operate with a view of change as a continuous process.
2) Ability to pilot new initiatives
3) Ability to build upon strengths
4) Ability to foster healthy working relationships
To: Everyone interested
From: Carol Spooner, Secretary, iPNB
Re: iPNB Bylaws Straw Poll votes - Oct. 13-14
The board addressed the following bylaws issues by straw polls during
the October 13-14 meetings:
The Local Station Boards shall serve as standing committees of the
Board of Directors for their respective station areas.
Board majority approved:
(1) Review and approve station's annual budget & to make quarterly
reports to PNB of station's budget vs actual income & expenses.
(2) Station General Managers must be hired by ED from list approved by
(3) LSB provides annual written evaluation of General Manager
(4) ED can fire (or retain?) General Manager only if LSB approves
(otherwise, if LSB wants to fire or retain the GM & ED doesn't, it
goes to PNB for approval)
(5) Program Directors must be hired by General Manager from pool
developed by LSB
(6) LSB provides annual written evaluation of PD
(7) Work with station management & staff to ensure station policies &
procedures for making programming decisions, etc. (KPFA draft
(8) To conduct "Town Hall" style meetings at least 2 times a year
devoted to hearing listeners' views, needs & concerns
(9) Assist in fundraising activities of the station
(10) form open committees (open to anyone) to carry on the work of the
LSB (KPFA draft language)
(11) actively reach out to under-represented communities -- to help
the station serve people of all races, creeds, colors, nations,
classes, sexual orientation, abilities ... (etc. KPFA draft language,
but include sexual orientation/gender language)
(12) Perform community needs assessments, or see to it that a separate
"Community Advisory Board" is formed if required by CPB
From "Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards," published by the
National Center for Nonprofit Boards, Washington, DC 20036.
Determine the organization's mission and purposes
Select the executive staff through an appropriate process
Provide ongoing support and guidance for the executive; review
Ensure effective organizational planning
Ensure adequate resources
Manage resources effectively (the buck stops with them, ultimately)
Determine and monitor the organization's programs and services
Enhance the organization's public image
Serve as a court of appeal
Assess its own performance
Greater Knoxville Chapter
Your Nonprofit Organization's
Board of Directors
Responsibilities of the Board
Your organization's Board of Directors has many important responsibilities.
Though they may vary from organization to organization, the following is
description of the responsibilities and duties of most boards.
1. Determine the organization's mission and purpose. It is the board's
responsibility to create a statement of mission and purpose, and to review
it periodically for accuracy and validity. This statement should set out
the organization's goals, means, and primary constituents served. Each
board member should fully understand and support it.
2. Select the organization's chief executive, then appoint, review,
and (if necessary) dismiss that individual. The board must also ensure that
the chief executive, who has responsibility for the administration of the
organization, receives the moral and professional support he or she needs
to further the organization's goals.
3. Ensure effective organization planning. As steward of the
organization, the board must actively participate with the staff in an
overall planning process, and assist in implementing the plan's goals. The
board should help management to develop business plans, policy objectives,
business strategies, and priorities.
4. Ensure adequate resources. One of the board's foremost
responsibilities is to provide adequate resources for the organization to
fulfill its mission. The board should work in partnership with the chief
executive and development staff to raise funds from the community.
5. Manage resources effectively. The board, in order to remain
accountable to its donors and the public, and to safeguard its tax-exempt
status, must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring that
proper financial controls are in place.
6. Determine, monitor, and strengthen the organization's programs and
services. The board's role in this area is to determine which programs are
the most consistent with an organization's mission, and to monitor their
effectiveness. By constantly reviewing the organization's work, the board
ensures the organization's capacity to carry out its programs.
7. Enhance the organization's public standing. The board is the
organization's primary link to the community. Clearly articulating the
organization's mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public, as well
as garnering support from members of the community, are important elements
of a comprehensive public relations strategy.
8. Ensure legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability. The
board is ultimately responsible for ensuring adherence to legal standards
and ethical norms. The board must establish pertinent policies and
procedures (e.g., personnel policies, grievance procedures), and adhere to
provisions of the organization's bylaws and articles of incorporation.
9. Recruit and orient new board members, and assess board performance.
The board must select new board members and orient them to their
responsibilities, and the organization's history, needs, and challenges. By
evaluating its performance, the board can recognize its achievements and
determine which areas need to be improved. As the organization grows and
improves, the governing board must also evolve to meet changing needs and
Selecting Board Members
Because the Board of Directors plays such an important role in your
organization, you must apply stringent standards in your search for board
members, and look for individuals who:
Can bring a variety of skills, experience, and diversity to the
Have backgrounds and contacts that differ from--but
complement-those of the other directors. This diversity is vital to
maintaining a "balanced" board composition.
Have concern for your organization's development, and are willing
to learn about the substantive program area of the organization.
Are prepared to set side any potential conflict between their
personal or individual business interests to support the well-being of the
Have a developed sense of values and personal integrity.
Are sensitive to and tolerant of views and opinions different from
Are friendly, responsive, and patient, and have a sense of humor.
Work well with individuals and groups.
Can listen, analyze, and think clearly and creatively.
Are not hesitant to ask questions.
Are willing to prepare for and attend board and committee meetings.
Will take responsibility and follow through on assignments.
Are willing to contribute personal and financial resources to the
organization, and to cultivate and solicit outside funds.
Can open doors in the community.
Can recruit board members and other volunteers.
Are willing to develop skills they need in order to be effective
board members (e.g., the ability to read and understand financial
Responsibilities of Individual Board Members
Within larger framework of board responsibilities, the individual board
members you have chosen must each fulfill certain obligations to the
organization. Those obligations include:
Attend all board and committee meetings and functions, and be
prepared to participate.
Stay informed about board and committee matters; review and comment
on minutes and reports.
Stay informed about the organization's mission, services, policies,
Keep up-to-date on developments in the organization's field.
Follow developments in the community, economy, government, etc.
that may affect the organization.
Serve on committees and offer to take on special assignments.
Make a personal financial contribution to the organization.
Participate in organizational fundraising.
Inform others about the organization.
Get to know other members; build working relationships that
contribute to consensus.
Suggest nominees to the board who can make significant
contributions to the work of the board and the organization.
Follow conflict of interest and confidentiality policies.
Assist the board in carrying out its fiduciary responsibilities
such as reviewing the organization's annual financial statements.
Participate actively in the board's annual evaluation and planning
From: A. Gregory Wonderwheel
Date: Thu Oct 24, 2002 4:53 pm
Subject: Re: Skills and abilities needed for LB and PNB service
These are excellent questions. Rather
than accuse you of being anti-
democratic and assuming that you are in
a conspiracy to subvert
elections by establishing a secret
cabal that will appoint the local
baorde members, I will presume that you
are asking these questions
for the practical reason that the
answers will help in recruiting
people to become candidates for the LB
and in evaluating the
There are several websites you might
want to peruse for general
information about board members and their duties and responsibilities.
http://www.nonprofit-info.org has a board member FAQ page at
An article by Anne Gardon titled "Strengthening Boards of Nonprofit
Organizations" is at http://www.supportctr.org/art_strengthen.htm
A FAQ page is also at
with an article titled "What's wrong with the 'ideal board member'?"
This last short piece starts: "When most board members and executive
directors dream of their ideal board member they envision someone who
contributes money, obtains contributions from others, helps the
organization get media coverage and political contacts, bring
specialized expertise, and helps diversify the board's composition.
This ideal board member also identifies with the organization, is
liked and admired by staff and other board members, "fits in." These
characteristics describe a board member who can help provide the
critical support agencies need to succeed."
Whew! doesn't that sum it up? But even with all those skills will the
person know how to "govern." That is why no matter how "ideal" a
person may appear, the rubber meets the road based on plain
understanding of the role and not on any particular skill set.
For example, Leslie Cagan said at the last iPNB meeting that her
priority for management was politics, management skills, and radio
experience/knowledge. The same may be said for Pacifica Directors
and Local Board members.
If a person doesn't have all three, they can usually learn items two
and three but their politics will not change. However, if they don't
learn what the role of a board member is, no amout of "good" politics
will make them an asset on the board. In fact their "good" politics
will become a liability when they justify poor decisions because they
are politically correct.
Of highest priority to me is that the person understand that the role
of a board member is a fiduciary role, not an ownership role or even
a "temporary" ownership role. Thus I think that board members should
be quizzed about their understanding of the Pacifica Mission. This
will address political understanding as well a whether they
understand that being faithful to the mission is their primary role,
not coming with their own goals and directions for Pacfica. Having
creative ideas about creating govening policies to achieve the
mission are very valuable.
Also essential is knowing the proper role between the board and the
manager. A quick observation of the iPNB will show that as a board
they do not understand how to evaluate and hold accountable the
Executive Director. I attribute this failure to several causes, lack
of experience how to work together as a board, lack of understanding
how to evaluate an Ex. Dir., lack of understanding that motions and
resolutions must have evaluation built in, and the general crisis
mode and atmosphere of the interim phase.
Hope this helps.
From: Susan Lee
Date: Thu Oct 24, 2002 12:26 pm
Subject: Skills and abilities needed for LB and PNB service
We have spent much time on the powers
that the LB and the PNB will have
and on how the elections will be held.
I would like to address the question
(which the WBAI Bylaws Committee will
address at our October 29 meeting)
about who will serve on the LB's and
the PNB and what skills and abilities
that these people should have in
order to carry out the responsibilities
that the LB's and the PNB will
I will be leading this meeting and am
asking for ideas from people who have
served on LAB's, the IPNB, non-profit
boards, and those of you who haven't.
What did you wish you knew and didn't? What kinds of folks should be on
the board who were and who weren't? If you could think of your ideal
board, what skills and abilities would one, some or all of the people have?
For those of you who are thinking of running for the LB's, what is it that
you think you can contribute (As someone I know who was asked to be on a
major nonprofit Board was asked, "What can you do for us?") What are people
looking for in a candidate?
We've spoken a great deal about inclusion, a subject that hopefully we will
keep addressing. However, now I'm hoping we can come at it from the a
different point of view as well.