On this Ask & Answer Friday episode, co-hosts Julia Patrick and Tony Beall respond to questions covering topics such as board diversity policies, encouraging employee contributions, uncovering unconscious bias, hiring a lobbyist, and crafting concise mission statements.

Tony suggests that allowing elected officials on nonprofit boards may send conflicting messages and advises considering potential polarizing effects. He also emphasizes the importance of conflict-of-interest policies and recusing oneself when necessary. Regarding employee contributions, Tony recommends providing opportunities for participation without pushing employees. Julia agrees and highlights the significance of showing employees the organization’s work.

Uncovering unconscious bias is discussed, with Tony suggesting resources like LinkedIn Learning, workshops, and book clubs. Both hosts acknowledge the importance of addressing biases and recommend engaging in conversations and seeking outside training.

The topic of hiring a lobbyist for a cultural nonprofit is explored, and Tony suggests considering whether a lobbyist is necessary for driving policy or if other avenues, like developing direct relationships with representatives, can achieve the desired outcomes. Julia adds that organizations in the same sector could collaborate and invest collectively in a lobbyist.

Lastly, the hosts discuss the challenge of crafting concise mission statements. They agree that a one-sentence statement can be effective, but if consensus is difficult to reach, individuals can use the organization’s talking points and convey the mission in their own authentic voice.

Throughout the episode, the co-hosts offer insights, personal experiences, and encourage transparent and genuine communication. Tony’s commitment to the show is over-the-top, as he joined remotely, despite experiencing a storm power outage!