The launch of a meaningful new book, “Building Board Champions”! From Julia C. Patrick, CEO of American Nonprofit Academy, this nonprofit focused literature is more than just a manual; it is a catalyst for change, offering 36 activations that guide board members through varied scenarios ranging from mundane operational tweaks to tackling systemic issues within their organizations. Whether it’s dealing with a sluggish board during the summer or addressing more systemic toxic issues, the book equips leaders with tools to effect meaningful change.

Julia, an award-winning author and a seasoned professional in the nonprofit sector, shares her deep insights and experiences, which culminate in this comprehensive guide aimed at enhancing board effectiveness in nonprofit organizations.

Julia’s choice to focus on board dynamics in her book stems from her extensive background in both the newspaper and publishing industries, combined with her frequent interactions and challenges presented by nonprofit boards. She mentions, “I believe that we can build board champions. I don’t think it’s just that one shining star that drops into your lap. There are things we can do as leaders in the sector to build board champions.” This belief is embedded throughout her book, which proposes practical strategies and activities—or “activations” as she calls them—for cultivating proactive and committed board members.

The book is structured around the concept of ‘activations,’ practical steps that board members can take to improve their engagement and effectiveness. Host Tony Beall highlights the importance of a sturdy foundation for any organization, akin to building a home, and Julia’s book provides the blueprint. One of the key aspects Julia focuses on is the often challenging, yet crucial, board member dynamics and engagement. She states, “People come up to me asking about board issues… it’s always the questions about the board side of things.”

As an example point, Julia explains the concept of “dogfooding,” a controversial yet powerful approach where board members experience firsthand the services their organization provides. This method fosters empathy and a deeper understanding of the nonprofit’s mission and challenges, which in turn, helps their capacity to advocate and make better decisions.

This transformative book for nonprofit leaders also serves as a reminder of the critical role board members play in the success and sustainability of their organizations. As Julia puts it succinctly, “I think there are things we can do as leaders in the sector to build board champions,” a statement that encapsulates the book’s goal —–to empower and inspire nonprofit boards across the globe.