Board Chairs Academy

Answering questions during the Seattle Board Chairs Academy

Putting The Basics of Strategic Nonprofit Governance to Work in Your Nonprofit Organization

Since 2006, Board Chairs Academy has invited nonprofit boards of directors to seriously consider their succession planning efforts and seriously prepare the next generation for board leadership. The Academy’s comprehensive approach, which has benefitted over 200 nonprofits and their boards in the United States and Canada, was created by nonprofit leaders to provide the necessary tools and knowledge for incoming and promising board chairs to succeed. Using a cohort learning model of up to six participants per participating organization, Board Chairs Academy is designed to evolve a culture of effective nonprofit governance and leadership succession through a combination of seminars, participant workbook, tools, roundtables and experienced professional support. Board Chairs’ Academy is based on the principle of “Governance as Stewardship.”

The training modules, discussions and tools of Boards Chairs Academy are based on the following principals:

  • Strategic governance is a board rooted in advancing “a community cause”
  • Effective governance is focused on sustainability, resiliency and impact
  • Visible governance is the result of an advocacy responsibility that builds community equity for the cause
  • Prudent governance is aggressive about building both financial and human capital to advance a cause
  • Successful governance is committed to a continuity of future leadership and succession planning
How can your community benefit from Third Sector Company’s Board Chairs Academy?Carole ZavalaSenior Professional Advisor, Laguna Beach, CA

Here’s what some past participants had to say about the Board Chairs Academy Program:

“Simply put, this training was the best I have experienced in my years as a nonprofit leader. Board members participate with you – this is key! The Board Academy draws them in in ways we can’t as EDs and there is dedicated session time to discuss and plan. The six-part series, over six months, means sustained learning which is way better than the ‘one-shot” seminars we are used to attending.– Paul Knox CEO, United Way of Thurston County
I want you to know how much I appreciated the class and how valuable it was for me. As a life-long learner and a long-time director, I have attended many trainings over the years … This training was targeted at a high level, filled with pearls of wisdom that made me stop and think, and timely for the issues our organization is dealing with. I truly benefited from and found inspiration in each session. Having board members share in the learning is such a great benefit!– Patty Belmonte CEO, Hands On Children’s Museum

The Board Chairs Academy has been designed to serve the entire nonprofit sector. Participating organizations are encouraged to invite other people interested in discussing key concepts and issues associated with nonprofit governance to join them! We are also proud to welcome customers who make Board Chairs Academy a standing element of their board orientation and leadership development programs.

Board Chairs Academy provides 21 hours of in-class instruction. With three representatives, the hourly training cost amounts to $23 to $28 per hour. For six representatives, the amounts lower to $15 to $18 per hour. There is no board training program on the market that can match the intensity, comprehensiveness, materials, incremental learning processes, and outcomes of Third Sector Company’s Board Chairs Academy. Board Chairs Academy participants also gain access to an additional three-hour leadership succession planning workshop offered several times during the course of the Academy.

The Board Chair Academy Seminars

Six Progressive Topics and 21 Hours of Cohort Learning
Essential to Effective Board and Community Leadership of Your Nonprofit Organization

Session #1

The Art of Nonprofit Leadership

The first session explores the attributes of governance as it relates specifically to the nonprofit business model. Participants are challenged to recognize the leadership needs of cause-related organizations and the responsibilities of board members to advance effective decision-making on behalf of mission-driven enterprises. The seminar includes discussions about the role of values in leadership, the unique elements of nonprofit boards, nonprofit management versus nonprofit leadership, and the nonprofit life cycle.

Session #2

The Science of Board Development

Governing an evolving organization requires an evolving board of directors. This session will provide an overview of how to develop a dynamic board of directors. Discussions include the evolution of board development as an element of governance responsibilities, board assessments against an organizational picture of success, board recruitment strategies, board orientation, and effective board meetings.

Session #3

Board Involvement in Fundraising

Sustainable resource development is the product of a fundraising culture. The third seminar challenges participants to analyze their current fundraising cultures and discuss a board’s responsibilities for creating and edifying a successful resource development environment. The program will include a fundraising assessment, fundraising myths and laws, a marketing-based approach to resource development, and creation of action plans.

Session #4

Fostering Leadership Continuity – Succession Planning for Nonprofit Organizations

Assuring a continuity of leadership is one of the most important forms of resource development for a nonprofit organization’s sustainable future. This seminar, a hallmark presentation of the mission statement of Third Sector Company, provides board members and executive staff with the tools for cultivating a culture of leadership continuity and succession planning.

Session #5

Board and Management Relations

The relationship that a board has with its chief executive officer sets the tone for understanding the dynamic that exists between governance and management in a nonprofit organization. This convening will present recommendations for performance planning and accountability throughout the organization, evaluating the chief executive, executive compensation, and succession planning practices and policies.

Session #6

The Strategic Nonprofit and Its Board

Board Chairs Academy culminates with a discussion about the attributes of a strategic organization, which is the result of strategic governance in action. This session will advocate for the development of a nonprofit dashboard, analysis of organizational effectiveness and efficiency against mission and stated benchmarks of success, board member roles in assuring a strategic organizational culture, and steps in safeguarding from backsliding into managing operations and minutia.

Upcoming Academies


Board Chairs Academy – Tacoma, WA

September 14, 2017 - February 1, 2018From $150 Unlimited tickets
The Board Chairs Academy series provides an interactive classroom learning experience for board chairs, board leaders and executive directors to work as a team in a cohort learning environment. To sign up, fill out our online registration form, or contact Sharon Howe at 206-799-1942 or for more information.