Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The End of Board Committees

Let's face it: board committees are usually bored committees, and rarely get anything done unless it's task and time specific, so why not just abolish them?

At least, that's the question being asked in the premier issue of 'Blue Avocado' - the new online magazine for people working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector. The site, directed and edited by Jan Masaoka (my former boss at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services), is "half magazine, half blog, half website" and its "aim is to engage and support the people of community nonprofits, the ones who do the heavy lifting in building social justice and strong communities, and who create and drive the ideas that change our world for the better."

Of the articles in the premier issue, which came out today, the one abolishing board committees really grabbed me as being provocative and helpful at the same time. Of course, you'll never get rid of all committees - nor should you - but with a handful of exceptions, board committees do not need be permanent standing structures, and their business can be better served with ad-hoc task-specific groups.

I see two main benefits right off: providing focus and eliminating burn-out. A project specific task force knows what it must accomplish, and by when it must accomplish it. And, by providing that direction, there's no drift or inertia from month-to-month as nothing seems to happen, making committee members bored, anxious, and fed up with board work entirely.

Check out Blue Avocado at and sign up for the e-newsletter, register an account (it's free, and allows you to leave comments), and join in the conversation.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Walking for Early Literacy

On Saturday May 10 I will be taking part in the Human Race, a fundraising event for Silicon Valley nonprofit organizations. The Human Race is an annual event produced by the Volunteer Center of Silicon Valley that brings together hundreds of organizations from Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Taking part in an event like this provides each organization a "ready-made" fundraising event, without the hassle, effort, or costs of developing one of their own. Volunteer Centers throughout the state and nation hold similar events - Check it out for your own nonprofit.

I will be doing the 5K walk to raise funds for Grail Family Services (GFS), an organization in East San Jose that I have been serving on a consultant basis as Interim Executive Director for a little over a year now. And, of course, I'm asking for your support - Click here if you can pledge any amount of money to help our efforts.

GFS "fosters learning and the empowerment of vulnerable families with young children through the delivery of programs that educate, develop leadership skills, and build a sense of community." All GFS programs target parents and their young children ages 0-9, and are designed with community input to address the issues most important to the neighborhood. This approach enriches the child, as well as the parent, and helps them each on the path to success in school, in work, and in life.

Your sponsorship of my Human Race participation could mean:
  • $25 – five new books for the GFS Children's Library.
  • $50 – developmentally appropriate toys for GFS' child care program.
  • $100 – case management services for one parent.
  • $250 – four weeks of subsidized child care services for one low-income toddler.
  • $1,000 – eight weeks of literacy services to boost the reading skills of one child.
If you can help out, click here - And thank you for your support!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Introducing IssueLab

Just a quick note today: There's a new link in the "Blogroll" on the left side to IssueLab's newsfeed.

IssueLab "is an online publishing forum for nonprofit research. Each month we do an editorial CloseUp on a different issue that nonprofits are addressing in their own research work. This month we are focusing on research related to the issue of Volunteerism. You can check out the collection, which pulls work from an interesting cross-section of organizations, at"

The newsfeed (to your left) will bring you all sorts of good stuff.