Additional Resources

From among all the websites we use from time to time, here are 140 or so that we find particularly useful or interesting, organized into some 36 broad (and overlapping) categories.

With few exceptions, we list only sites that offer extensive resources to visitors at little or no charge. Some sites encourage donations for repeated use; others require it (and we recommend donations as only fair, if you're a frequent visitor). Some are membership organizations with qualifying requirements; we list them here either because their free-access websites are rich in content or because we think their organizations deserve a broad audience. One or two are commercial sites that hold special promise for our sector.

For every site listed, of course, there are often others with similar competence that cater to a slightly different audience--in another part of the country, for example, or within a specialized sector. The listed sites are hosted by organizations with which we have had a positive personal experience. Some sites are mammoth, some are tiny, but all are demonstrably relevant.

We'd like to try the websites that you like best, too. Please use the Feedback page in the Contact Us section to pass along your suggestions.

By the way: Except as noted in our bios and client rosters elsewhere in these pages, we have no vested interest in any of these organizations or initiatives.



Associations: For foundations & grantmakers

Association of Black Foundation Executives

A group devoted to promoting effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities, ABFE is also the first and oldest of more than 40 Council on Foundations (COF) affinity groups.

Association of Small Foundations [national]

Specifically designed to be of most use to foundations with little or no staff, the Association of Small Foundations is known for being accessible and responsive. Their roster of affinity groups (Black or Hispanic philanthropists, for example, or grantmakers focusing on the arts) is terrific.

Council on Foundations [national]

Although primarily a service for Council members, the website can be a helpful resource to anyone interested in grantmaking, grantseeking and the larger issues of philanthropy and charity.

The public site can seem a bit overwhelming, but it's worth exploring. If you contact them in person, the staff is unfailingly patient with questions.

Donors Forum, The [Chicago area]

Another of the highly regarded regional associations of grantmakers ("Rags"), The Donors Forum of Chicago serves both foundations and nonprofits (most of the other Rags limit their membership to foundations).

Giving Forum, The, a/k/a the Forum of RAGs [national]

The Giving Forum, more formally known as the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers (or RAGS), is a national network of local leaders and organizations that support effective charitable giving.

The Forum's network focuses on the philanthropy of city, state, and multi-state areas of the U.S. and encompasses 29 regional associations of grantmakers. These regional associations collectively represent more than 5,000 grantmakers and others interested in philanthropy.

Hispanics in Philanthropy

A transnational network of grantmakers committed to strengthening Latino communities across the Americas, HIP is also a Council on Foundations affinity group.

Regional Association Locator [national]

Sponsored by The Giving Forum (see above), this site will help you locate the regional association of foundations and other grantmakers in your area. No one knows more about real-time local philanthropy than the folks you'll find here.

Southeastern Council of Foundations [12 states]

One of some 30 such organizations across the country, SECF is the principal resource for foundations and their trustees in the twelve-state southeastern United States. Excellent too for those thinking of creating a foundation.

Full disclosure: BoardWalk's Sam Pettway is a regular columnist for this organization's monthly newsletter to members.

Washington Grantmakers [DC & the neighboring area]

Like the others listed here, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, known variously as "the Washington RAG" and "Washington Grantmakers," is one of the best in the country, a fact reflected by its dynamic website. Based in the heart of the nation's capital, the Washington Grantmakers is well attuned to issues of interest to philanthropists whose reach extends far beyond the District's boundaries.

Women's Funding Network

The WFN is a network of funds specifically supportive of nonprofit groups and initiatives working to improve the lives of women and girls. Some 125 such funds across the US and in 17 other countries are members or affiliates of the network; the site includes a search engine to find one near you.

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Associations: For individuals

American Marketing Association

Through its foundation, the AMA has committed to being a strategic resource for nonprofits desiring to strengthen their ability to reach new or expanded markets. Their annual conference on nonprofit marketing is a must.

American Society of Association Executives

The web's principal site on anything to do with associations. Their monthly magazine is one of the best and most thoughtful around.

The site's search engine can locate an association on almost any topic imaginable, from AAA (the automobile & travel club) to Zonta International (advancing the status of women).

Association of Fundraising Professionals

A comprehensive organization of 26,000 individuals in resource development. For the nonpractitioner, the site has lots of useful content.

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Associations: For nonprofits

Directory of State Nonprofit Associations

This page on the website of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations will help you find the association of nonprofit organizations in your area. We have found these state and regional associations to be enormously helpful resources for members, funders, constituents and other stakeholders.

Georgia Center for Nonprofits

An extraordinarily useful resource for Georgia-based nonprofits and the people who manage, govern or fund them. This site includes a fabulous set of links to scores of other resources.

Full disclosure: BoardWalk's Sam Pettway is a former GCN trustee.

Independent Sector

A national coalition of leading nonprofits, foundations and corporations strengthening not-for-profit initiative, philanthropy and citizen action. Individual memberships also available.

Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations

Another of the statewide organizations serving nonprofits, the Maryland Association is highly regarded as a pioneer in the field. The website itself is not very exciting, but their programs are.

One of their standout programs is called Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector, now being tested in five other markets for national roll-out. The program articulates some 55 performance standards in eight areas of operation (such as mission, governance, HR and public policy).

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

One of the pioneers.

National Council of Nonprofit Associations

The NCNA is the network of state and regional nonprofit associations serving over 22,000 organizational members in 46 states and the District of Columbia. This is a wholesale site, not a retail one, and is principally of interest to its members. Nevertheless, NCNA's home page has a link to each of the state and regional member associations of nonprofits, and thus finding the one serving your area is a snap.

North Carolina Center for Nonprofits

A coalition of nonprofits from across the state, the North Carolina Center has grown in under 20 years from a kitchen-based dream to a membership organization encompassing some 1500 nonprofits from all 100 counties in the state. The annual conference each fall is a must-attend event for North Carolinians committed to the sector.

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Board accountability and evaluation

Board and Committee Evaluation Form: A First Step

If you use this simple template or something like it at every official gathering of the board or its committees, you will begin to focus everyone's attention on the substantive issues, and you'll get real-time feedback that will make future meetings more rewarding. The form's very simplicity makes it easy to complete, and it is not threatening to anyone.

Checklist for Accountability (Summer 2005)

Sarbanes-Oxley has many nonprofit boards reexamining their approaches to governance. Although most of the act's provision do not apply to nonprofits--yet--many organizations are planning for the scrutiny that they know is coming.

In the summer of 2005, Independent Sector put together this Checklist for Accountability to help boards enhance transparency as they strengthen their governance practices. It won't give you all the answers, but it does frame many of the key questions prompted by the same concerns that led to the enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Has Your Organization Outgrown its Board?

Published in slightly different form by BoardSource, the national nonprofit focused on board governance, this December 2004 article by BoardWalk's Sam Pettway asks 10 basic questions to help examine the fit between an organization's mission and its current board.

How effective is your board?

In February 2007, we asked readers of smorgasBoard ®, our mostly-monthly electronic newsletter, to respond to four questions “on board service as you experience it.” We do not pretend that the responses are statistically valid, but we do hope you find the answers to be a useful addition to your own board deliberations.

Learning from Madoff: Lessons for Foundation Boards

A 2009 study reveals the link between the size of a foundation's board and the magnitude of its losses in the Madoff scandal. Timely reading for anyone interested in nonprofit governance.

McKinsey & Co. guide to board self-assessment

McKinsey & Co., the global strategy consulting firm, has prepared a series of self-assessment guidelines for nonprofit boards. The long form is available via this link; more succinct versions are available from McKinsey's own website.

Nonprofit Governance & Accountability

Prompted by surging interest in governance and accountability, The Listening Post Project, led by Johns Hopkins University, surveyed some 600 nonprofits nationally in five key sectors of the nonprofit economy. The final summary of findings, attached here, should be useful to any organization interested in current trends in board roles, financial disclosure, ethics protections, best-practice standards and other such issues.

The report contains no huge surprises, but it is noteworthy to see how similarly nonprofits of all sizes have responded to new pressures from donors, regulators and constituents.

Strengthening Transparency, Governance & Accountability of Charitable Organizations (2005)

Strengthening Transparency, Governance & Accountability of Charitable Organizations: A Final Report, by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector, convened by Independent Sector

The Final Report to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (the Grassley Committee) may make for dry reading, but its potential impact on the nonprofit sector is huge.

The executive summary highlights the Panel's 15 key recommendations for reform; the full 118-page document reflects the collected (and highly diverse) wisdom of thousands of nonprofit leaders and influencers across the country.

What Makes Great Boards Great

What Makes Great Boards Great, by Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld

The best short summary we've seen of the shared characteristics of terrific boards. Although written for the corporate community, this article from Harvard Business Review is fully applicable to boards of not-for-profits that want to make the most effective use of their board assets.

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Board education


BoardSource fully deserves its reputation as the premier source for materials relevant to effective governance of nonprofit organizations.

BoardSource has an extensive offering of pamphlets, software and other materials regarding the development and management of boards. Their templates on such topics as board and CEO assessment can be an excellent starting point for organizations interested in improving their approach to governance.

Governing for Nonprofit Excellence

Designed for (and limited to) board members of nonprofits, foundations and the like, this three-day course at Harvard Business School consistently demonstrates the educational power of diversity, for the trustees who attend the annual session are as varied as the missions they serve. Note: BoardWalk offers half-tuition fellowships to this program each fall.

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Board matching services


"Connecting nonprofit boards and new leaders," boardnetUSA claims to have pioneered the way nonprofits and potential board members find each other, and we think they're in danger of being right. It's a thriving tool being adopted by a number of umbrella nonprofits across the country.

Originally a service of the Volunteer Consulting Group of New York City, boardnetUSA also works in partnership with the Wall Street Journal.

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Board roles and responsibilities

12 Principles of Governance that Power Exceptional Boards

The Source: Twelve Principles that Power Exceptional Boards, by BoardSource

A truly practical guide to building an exceptionally effective nonprofit board, representing the collective wisdom of some of the leading thinkers of the day, all members of The Source, a Blue Ribbon panel assembled for the purpose by BoardSource.

Boards that Deliver

Boards That Deliver: Advancing Corporate Governance From Compliance to Competitive Advantage , by Ram Charan

"Finally, a book that brings the vision of truly good governance down to earth."

Five people to invite onto every search committee, and two to avoid

Since the founding of BoardWalk Consulting in 2002, we have worked with scores of nonprofit and foundation CEO search committees. We have developed some views about who should be on this critical committee - - and who should not.

Governance as Leadership

Governance as Leadership, by Richard P. Chait, William P. Ryan & Barbara E. Taylor

A fresh way to think about governance, from three of the sector's best thinkers, accompanied by sensible ways to turn the ideas into concrete action. An easy read, but a demanding premise.

Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence

In 1994, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits became the first state association of nonprofits to develop a set of accountability principles and management practices. This revised edition completely updates those original standards while remaining true to MCN’s long-standing goal of open access to comprehensive policies for strong public accountability. Click the title above to get a summary; the link to a PDF file of the principles themselves is in the lower right-hand corner.

Standards for Excellence

With funding from national foundations, The Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations developed a set 55 55 standards in eight categories (governance, management, fundraising and the like) that define excellence in action. The standards are not geared to board assessment per se, but they do outline the issues that board assessment should be concerned with.

The Board's Evolving Role: From Management to Governance

A board's proper role changes as an organization matures, but in every case the role should be a purposeful one. This template was designed to help boards decide on the proper allocation of responsibilities, today and in the future, given the organization's specific situation.

The template may appear a bit daunting, but it's a stimulating way to highlight differences in role expectations of board members and the CEO/ED, and it's helpful in setting governance priorities as well.

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BoardWalk competitors worth a look


But we keep searching....

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BoardWalk Governance Fellowships

BoardWalk Governance Fellowships

Each year, we award several fellowships for board members to attend a program of the Social Enterprise Initiative at Harvard Business School. Specifically designed for board members of nonprofits, the fellowships, available by application, allow senior board members to share in an extraordinary 3-day course at HBS called "Governing for Nonprofit Excellence: Critical Issues for Board Leadership (see Executive Education section below).

Follow the link to see our selection criteria and application schedule for the 2011 fellowships. The program itself is held at Harvard in November.

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Books & other readings we wouldn't be without

Good to Great and the Social Sectors

Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great, Jim Collins

"Jim Collins Answers the Social Sector with a Monograph to Accompany Good to Great. 30-50% of those who bought Good to Great work in the Social Sector."

New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan, The

New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan, The
A very practical guide to a new leader's first weeks in office, with downloadable checklists and guides even the most seasoned CEO can learn from. Example: a list of "What Not to Do on Day One," including "Don't say anything (good or bad) about your former company."

Notes from a Non-Profitable Life

Notes from a Non-Profitable Life, Martin Lehfeldt
A long-time observer of (and contributor to) foundations, nonprofits and other philanthropic initiatives, Martin Lehfeldt has combined a lifetime of musings on the sector into one delightful volume. "It will keep you laughing and thinking long after you have finished reading it," says Emmett Carson, CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Secrets of Facilitation, The

The Secrets of Facilitation, by Michael Wilkinson

The Secrets of Facilitation explores the principles and techniques effective facilitators use to produce amazing results through groups. Even those highly accustomed to working with demanding groups will learn from Wilkinson's illuminating discussion of secrets that make for great facilitation. Excellent as a both a primer and a refresher.

Secrets to Masterful Meetings, The

The Secrets to Masterful Meetings, by Michael Wilkinson

Another home run by Michael Wilkinson for those who spend much of their lives in meetings--especially meetings that seem to go on forever, chase the lowest common denominator and invariably lead to even more meetings! A pragmatic how-to with simple but impactful concepts & tools you can use tomorrow in your board room, your staff meetings and even webinars.

Trusted Advisor, The

The Trusted Advisor, by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green & Robert M. Galford

David Maister has long been known for his expertise in the management of service organizations. Here he and his co-authors write at length on the critical nature of trust in consulting relationships.

Wisdom of Teams, The

The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization, John R. Katzenbach, Douglas K. Smith

"The importance of teams has become a cliche of modern business theory, but few have a clear idea of what it means. In this new edition of their best-selling primer, Katzenbach and Smith try to impart some analytical rigor to the concept."

Wit & Wisdom: Unleashing the Philanthropic Imagination

Wit and Wisdom: Unleashing the Philanthropic Imagination, by Mark D. Constantine
The wit and wisdom of ten highly compelling philanthropic leaders is on display here. With minimal intrusion, author Mark Constantine elicits extraordinary candor from a group of philanthropists who have worked with creativity and persistence to address issues of race, equity and poverty throughout their distinguished careers. Most of those interviewed have strong connections to the American South.

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Building Strong Foundations: The First 100 Days

2006-05: "I Should Have Kept a Journal"

I should have Kept a Journal, by Handy Lindsey, Executive Director, The Cameron Foundation

In this first installment of our series, Building Strong Foundations: The First 100 Days, long-time grantmaker Handy Lindsey reflects on his transition from head of an well established foundation in Chicago to a brand-new one in Petersburg, VA.

2006-07: "I was surprised at how much I had to learn..."

I was surprised at how much I had to learn, by Andrea Bazan-Manson, President, Triangle Community Foundation

The new head of a major community foundation encountered some big challenges when she left her long-time post as head of El Pueblo, a statewide advocacy organization committed to strengthening the Latino community in North Carolina.

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Careers: Job searches and employment

Association Executives Career Headquarters

The American Society of Association Executives has a robust website for employers and jobseekers. Because it covers associations of all kinds, you will spend more time culling than you would on speciality sites, but no one we know offers broader coverage of the spectrum.

Blue Steps, a career service of the AESC

Blue Steps is the official career-changers site for the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), of which BoardWalk is an enthusiastic member (and one of the very few to focus exclusively on the nonprofit sector).

Because the focus of most search firms (and thus the AESC) is essentially commercial, those of us serving the social sector view the site as especially useful for identifying executives receptive to what we call an Encore Career, moving from success to significance in the nonprofit sector. We have found some wonderfully creative solutions for our clients here that we would not have known about otherwise.


A service of Charity Channel, an extensive resource for nonprofit leaders, consultants and employers, CareerSearchOnline has a reputation for being very cost-effective for employers and informative for career seekers. Very broad coverage up and down the organization.

CEO Update

The best assimilation we've seen of current nonprofit CEO and ED searches. CEO Update is Washington-based, and thus there is a disproportionate emphasis on association management, but overall this bi-weekly newsletter is an important resource for any senior executive considering a change to or within the nonprofit sector. They even mention one or two of our competitors!

Change Your Career

Change Your Career: Transitioning to the Nonprofit Sector, by Laura Gassner Otting

Laura Gassner Otting's book is quite simply the best guide we've seen for corporate types considering a move from success to significance. Combined with Jim Collins' book, Good to Great in the Social Sectors (cited below), this book will excite, comfort and prepare you for a transition that may be bigger than you realize.

Dot Org Jobs

Dot Org Jobs is a service of, a free global resource for professionals in nonprofits and philanthropy. Recent job postings ranged from the CEO of a 9-figure national nonprofit to entry-level roles for new college graduates.

Encore careers

One of our favorite resources, perhaps because several of us at BoardWalk are in our own encore careers.

Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life

Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life, by Marc Freedman

The founder and CEO of Civic Ventures offers timely advice for baby boomers tempted to ask, "Is this all there is?"


Halftime, by Bob Buford, Peter F. Drucker & Terry Whalin

Bob Buford's story of how he moved "from success to significance" upon the sale of the family business has proved a catalyzing premise for many people. A devout Christian, Bob writes for the true believer, but even non-believers or those less evangelically inclined will find his journey captivating and his points persuasive. This book played a disproportionate role in the genesis of BoardWalk Consulting.

Connecting people, organizations and resources "in a spirit of generosity and mutual respect." Offers job postings, FAQs and personalized e-mail updates.

Independent Sector

Although this site lists only those positions posted by its member organizations, Independent Sector's overarching role as a coalition of leaders in the field may give it first access to some of the more interesting opportunities.


We continue to be amazed at how useful LinkedIn can be in discovering and capitalizing on connections. Six degrees of separation? You'll rarely need to go past two.

MBA-Nonprofit Connection, The

The MBA-Nonprofit Connection links graduates of three dozen business schools to employment opportunities within nonprofit organizations across the country, thereby serving as an extension to those schools' career services offices. Source of some good basic advice as well.

Nonprofit Times Jobs

Read by some 85,000 nonprofit executives, Nonprofit Times is published 24 times per year. The online postings are updated frequently and are national in scope.

Opportunity Knocks

"...the Internet's leading source of nonprofit jobs and career opportunities." Nationwide in scope, with heaviest coverage in an expanding list of major metropolitan areas. Recently acquired by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits but still based in San Francisco, Opportunity Knocks is probably the fastest growing web-based job board serving the nonprofit sector.


PhilanthropyCareers may be the largest site devoted exclusively to job opportunities in the world of nonprofits and foundations. Nearly half their active listings (totaling some 850 current positions in a recent week) relate to fundraising; the balance are spread about equally across executive, administrative and programmatic roles.

What Color is Your Parachute?

What Color is Your Parachute?, by Richard Nelson Bolles

A top seller for almost four decades, "Parachute" is still the best career transition how-to book in the market. Written with the corporate world in mind, the author (Richard Nelson Bolles) is a one-time Episcopal priest, and his affinity for soul-satisfying careers is clear. Use what you like and ignore the rest; this book is a winner. Revised & updated annually, so be sure to get the current edition. Ideal whether you're newly in the market or simply want to validate that where you are is where you're meant to be.

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Careers: Leadership and management

Career Pathways to Philanthropic Leadership (2010)

The Council on Foundations issued this summary of a "conversation" with leading search consultants and philanthropy executives in early 2010. BoardWalk's Sam Pettway was pleased to have been an invited participant in the dialogue, hosted at COF's headquarters in late 2009.

First 90 Days, The

The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, by Michael Watkins

A wonderful how-to for those facing career transition.

Five Dysfunctions of a Team, The

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, by Patrick M. Lencioni

A seminal book on teambuilding with direct application to nonprofits--and their governing boards.

Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers, and Facilitators, by Patrick M. Lencioni

This follow-on guide to the 2002 hit, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team could just as easily have been titled "Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Board." You may recognize more boardroom symptoms here than you'd like to--such as lack of trust, fear of conflict and inattention to results--but Lencioni offers a way out of the mire. We use these concepts in our retreats for board clients, and heads usually nod all around the room.

You're in Charge--Now What?

You're in Charge--Now What?: The 8-Point Plan, by Thomas J. Neff & James M. Citrin

Two of the world's top executive search consultants draw on the experiences of 50 leading managers to develop an eight-point plan relevant to every manager faced with a new role in a new environment. There are not many nonprofits covered here, but the sage advice comes from people at the top of their form and offers much to consider.

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Community foundations

Community Foundation Locator [national]

For newcomers to charitable giving on the local level, community foundations represent a best-in-class resource. This map, provided by the Council on Foundations, will help you identify and link to community foundations anywhere in the country.

Many of the target sites have extensive write-ups on everything from starting a foundation to serving on boards, all within a particular geographic context

Women's Funding Network

While not strictly speaking a community foundation, the Women's Funding Network and its affiliates are in many cases foundations that have been spun out from their sponsoring community foundations. All 125 funds that are part of the network share a commitment to improving the lives of women and girls. The site includes a search engine to find a fund of interest to you.

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Chronicle of Philanthropy, The

The Chronicle of Philanthropy offers regular articles on compensation and salaries; this link will take you to their search engine (which may require registration but no fee). Type in "salary survey" or "compensation" to retrieve the most recent articles.

GuideStar Annual Compensation Report

Expensive but extensive, this is most thorough survey of nonprofit compensation there is. Data from almost 100,000 current Form 990s makes this a truly authoritative resource.

Various editions are available for $349 (for PDF version) and up.

NonProfit Times 2006 Salary Survey

Issued each February, the NonProfit Times annual salary survey analyzes trends and surprises in the past year's pay plans at leading nonprofits nationwide. This site offers a (free) summary of the 2065 report.

Starting salaries

We are often asked about starting salaries for new college graduates (it seems that many of our friends and clients have sons and daughters in that category!). JobWeb is sponsored by the National Association of Colleges and Employers and is as comprehensive a site as any we've seen on the topic. BusinessWeek agrees too, since they use JobWeb's data for their annual story on best-paying college majors.

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Competitive edge

Creating Competitive Advantage

Creating Competitive Advantage: Give Customers a Reason to Choose You Over Your Competitors , by Jaynie L. Smith, William G. Flanagan

"Why should I do business with you… and not your competitor?
Whether you are a retailer, manufacturer, distributor, or service provider – if you cannot answer this question, you are surely losing customers, clients and market share. This eye-opening book reveals how identifying your competitive advantages (and trumpeting them to the marketplace) is the most surefire way to close deals, retain clients, and stay miles ahead of the competition."

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Corporate citizenship & social responsibility (CSR)

Business Civic Leadership Center

Formerly known as the Center for Corporate Citizenship, the Business Civic Leadership Center is a nonprofit sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce to support businesses in their initiatives to achieve social goals.

Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)

A practical resource for those interested in or committed to corporate social responsibility. Members include the brand-name global companies you would expect plus many smaller ones you might not.

Center for Corporate Citizenship (Boston, MA)

Boston College has long been a leader in the promotion of corporate citizenship, and the website of the Center for Corporate Citizenship is a standard-setter for redefining business success as creating measurable gains for business and society. A very rich site; membership fees are geared to larger corporate members, but the site is full of resources accessible at no cost.

Corporate Social Responsibility

An extensive resource and newsletter for those interested in corporate citizenship and social responsibility, both domestically and internationally.

Stanford Social Innovation Review

Stanford Business School's "source of ideas to help corporate and nonprofit executives think strategically about sustaining communities while building enduring companies."

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Corporate governance

Building Better Boards

Building Better Boards: A blueprint for effective governance, by David A. Nadler, Beverly A. Behan and Mark B. Nadler
This "blueprint for effective governance" was written for the corporate sector, but nonprofits and foundations will find much to learn from. 2006.

Corporate Library, The

In our opinion, this is the single best resource on board governance as it is being practiced in the corporate boardroom today. Much of their information is by fee-based subscription only, but the free overviews offer good insight into the struggles now underway in the nation's boardrooms.

Of special interest to nonprofits is TCL's effort to track what they call director interlocks -- six degrees of separation across boardrooms. TCL even tracks crossover membership on boards of a growing list of major nonprofits and foundations. An awesome tool and worth the steep price for those who can make regular use of it.

Directors & Boards

The Harvard Business Review of corporate governance, Directors & Boards has been a genuine thought-leader for the corporate boardroom for over 30 years. While we agree that the for-profit sector has much to learn from nonprofit boardrooms, the reverse is true as well. The quarterly magazine is available by paid subscription only, but the resources and intellectual capital it encompasses are worth a close look to those serious about good governance.

National Association of Corporate Directors

A membership organization for corporate board members, advisors and prospective candidates, NACD offers a wealth of information on a wide range of timely topics. Much free material on the website; full access requires annual membership.

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Ethics and ethical considerations

Business ethics

This site, put together and updated periodically by a private individual, offers a comprehensive collection of links.

Center for Ethics (Emory University)

An excellent example of what a university-based program can offer. The Center is the only one we know that exists to "enrich moral imagination." Its programs on ethics and servant leadership are well regarded.

Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility (Georgia State)

Georgia State's Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility (formerly the Southern Institute for Business and Professional Ethics), is the Southeast's leading organization in ethical leadership and integrity.

Ethics on the World Wide Web

A broad collection of ethics websites, from the School of Communications at California State University, Fullerton. Topics covered range from mental health to movies, as well as the more typical links and list-serves.

Ethics Resource Center

A nonprofit educational resource for both individuals and institutions. Extensive site, updated frequently, and well organized.

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Executive coaches

Barbara VanLandingham Pettway

Barbara Pettway is simply the best executive communications coach we know.

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Executive education (university-based programs)

Harvard Business School: Social Enterprise

Harvard Business School offers three superb courses in the field they call Social Enterprise. Reports from past participants are uniformly positive. An * denotes the availability of limited scholarship funds for qualified participants.

By design, participants come from all sorts of organizations; generally, 20-25% of those in a given session will come from overseas. Diverse perspectives are central to the learning experience. The range of interests and knowledge in the sessions, from students and faculty, is extraordinary.

Stanford: Leadership & Philanthropy

Stanford Business School has a suite of executive education courses geared to leaders in nonprofits and philanthropy. Here are direct links to three of the best:

    • Each year, Stanford's Center for Social Innovation assembles some 50 nonprofit leaders for a two-week fellowship; admission is competitive.

    • A separate course, designed for leaders in the arts, is available by nomination only, although nominations are invited.

    • Stanford Business School's new course on High Impact Philanthropy proposes to offer funders "cutting edge ideas and tools designed to enhance grantmaking effectiveness and foster social innovation."
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Executive search

2 mistakes in CEO transitions – and 3 best practices

, Kathy Bremer, BoardWalk Managing Director
You’ve just wrapped an intensive search process. A dynamic new CEO, with the right assets for the challenges and aspirations of your organization, will start in a few weeks. Congratulations!

Now what?

5 questions every candidate should ask

Preparing to meet with a search committee? Here are five questions we think every candidate should ask. Reprinted from July 2008 edition of smorgasBoard.

5 questions every search committee should ask—of its candidates

Five simple questions no search committee should ever overlook. Reprinted from June 2008 edition of smorgasBoard.

5 questions every search committee should ask—of itself

Five questions your best candidates will expect your search committee to have addressed. Reprinted from May 2008 edition of smorgasBoard.

Association of Executive Search Consultants

AESC is the association for executive search firms operating in North America, and its peer-reviewed members commit to codes of professionalism, ethics and conduct. Check this site to see if the firm you are considering is a member in good standing. (And, yes, BoardWalk Consulting is a member, one of the few focused exclusively on the nonprofit sector).

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Families, wealth and philanthropy

Six questions to increase wealth for your organization

Adapted from a reunion talk by Charles Collier, Harvard's Senior Philanthropic Advisor and author of Wealth in Families, cited elsewhere in this section, these six questions are assured to enrich both you and the organization (or family) of which you are a part.

Strategy for the Wealthy Family

Strategy for the Wealthy Family: Seven Principles to Assure Riches Across Generations, by Mark Haynes Daniell
A comprehensive framework for developing a family strategy that addresses the intersections of family, business, wealth and philanthropy for generations to come.

Succeeding Generations

Succeeding Generations: Realizing the dream of families in business, by Ivan Lansberg
A guide to family business success and leadership succession. 1999, but still highly relevant.

Wealth in Families

Wealth in Familes, by Charles W. Collier
"One of the very best books there is on practical philanthropy," according to one reviewer, this slim volume by Harvard University's Senior Philanthropic Advisor speaks with candor and sensitivity to the effect of wealth on family dynamics and family members.

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Association of Fundraising Professionals

Formerly the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, APF represents 26,000 individual members in about 175 chapters nationwide. Resources on the site include a consultants directory, job board, survey results, and lots of tips and tools.

Network for Good

A web-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people get more involved in their communities by connecting passion and financial support with compelling causes.

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Individual organizations: Resources and ratings

Charity Navigator

These folks have taken some flak for highlighting nonprofits' unvarnished financial statements, but their analysis of the operating finances of nearly 3000 nonprofits is a terrific tool for donors and funders. Search by name, type of organization or major metropolitan area. Free.


The web's most comprehensive source of financial information on tax exempt organizations, including federal Form 990s on over 850,000 nonprofits. A huge amount of free stuff, and add-on services (including the sector's most comprehensive salary survey) are available for a fee.

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Individual trustees: A wealth of information

Corporate Library, The

In our opinion, this is the single best resource on board governance as it is being practiced in the corporate boardroom today. Much of their information is by fee-based subscription only, but the free overviews offer good insight into the struggles now underway in the nation's boardrooms.

Of special interest to nonprofits is TCL's effort to track what they call director interlocks -- six degrees of separation across boardrooms. TCL even tracks crossover membership on boards of a growing list of major nonprofits and foundations. An awesome tool and worth the steep price for those who can make regular use of it.


We continue to be amazed at how useful LinkedIn can be in discovering and capitalizing on connections. Six degrees of separation? You'll rarely need to go past two.

Zoom Info

"The search engine for discovering people, companies and relationships," ZoomInfo is another of those information-gathering services made possible only by the Internet. At no cost, you can find a wide array of information on potential board candidates here, especially on those with a corporate background; for a fee that feels a bit stiff to us, you can also get information on a person's web of professional relationships.

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International philanthropy

Global Philanthropy Forum

The Global Philanthropy Forum offers one of the richest resources we have seen on the topic. Their "Roadmap to International Giving" is extensive, with links that could keep you going for hours. Their annual Conference on Borderless Giving is worth a serious look.

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Grameen Bank

The original microfinance resource before their was such a term, Grameen Bank provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh without any collateral. The bank and its founder, Muhammad Yunus, receiveds th Noble Peace Prize in 2006.

Kiva: Microfinance, meet PayPal.

Microfinance, meet PayPal. This online service connects would-be microfinanciers with prescreened entrepreneurs in need of micro loans. You're making a loan, not a donation (although they accept those too), but the founders claim a repayment rate of over 97%. Extraordinarily transparent, and the concept seems to have legs. Endorsed and funded in part by Omidyar Foundation.

Microfinance Gateway, The

Research, publications and other specialized resources (including consultants) for the microfinance industry.

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Newsletters of note

Boardsource e-newsletter

The BoardSource e-newsletter offers timely news and information on nonprofit governance issues and trends affecting nonprofit boards. Members not only receive the newest e-newsletter to their inbox each month, but can also access archived e-newsletters below.

Bridgestar's "Leadership Matters"

Boston-based Bridgestar focuses on peer-to-peer relationships. Recent issues examined the unusual role of the COO, leadership transition to the nonprofit sector from senior roles in business and government, and the impact of Baby Boomers on nonprofit management succession.

Charity Channel

This collection of services is a bit clumsy to navigate, but the information is first-rate and updated frequently. Inside are a number of different high-quality, interest-specific newsletters on governance, marketing, and a host of other topics about the leadership and operation of nonprofit organizations.

Chronicle of Philanthropy, The

"The Newspaper of the Nonprofit World." Nobody has a more extensive service. 24 issues annually. Print subscribers get advance e-mail summaries of the current issue with one-click access to the full text.

Directors & Boards

The Harvard Business Review of corporate governance, Directors & Boards has been a genuine thought-leader for the corporate boardroom for 30 years. While we agree that the for-profit sector has much to learn from nonprofit boardrooms, the reverse is true as well.

The quarterly magazine is available by paid subscription only, but the monthly newsletter is available by email at no charge. Both resources are worth a close look to those serious about good governance.

Foundation Center, The

A national resource with five regional centers, The Foundation Center is especially useful to grantseekers. Of their dozen or so free newsletters, three have special appeal to us: "Philanthropy News Digest" (PND), a weekly update, "RFP Bulletin," a weekly source of new grant opportunities, and PND Connections, a biweekly summary of new sector resources on the web.


A delightfully practical resource for boards and tribes (the organization is based in Arizona and works frequently with groups of native Americans), the newsletter of Help4Nonprofits is full of tips and templates that are both entertaining and challenging.

Nonprofit GENIE

A service of C-MAP, the California Management Assistance Project, the Nonprofit GENIE is a colorful website with a host of easy-to-navigate resources. Since C-MAP encompasses 14 regional nonprofit support organizations throughout that vast state, GENIE is quite extensive. For example, the checklist of questions to ask of potential consultants is quite thoughtful.

Nonprofit Quarterly

A print magazine and e-newsletter. Each issue focuses on a single topic or theme.

Nonprofit Times

"The leading business newspaper for nonprofit management," published 24 times a year; the e-newsletter is sent out weekly. The NP Top 100, citing the most influential people in the sector over the previous year, is worth the subscription price all by itself. The annual salary survey is also quite good.


Pardon our immodesty, but we think smorgasBoardSM, our own newsletter, is pretty cool. A sampling of bits and bytes on boards and leadership in nonprofits, foundations and the institutions that champion them, smorgasBoard offers an easy diet of essays, practical tools, client developments, publications and other items of interest for trustees, executive directors, and those who care about the causes they serve. Subscription information and copies of past editions are available elsewhere on our website by clicking the title above.

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Podcasts we like


As you might expect, it took a 20-something executive director to lead us to this most intriguing site, where each week or so the moderator conducts an interview with someone in the nonprofit sector who is doing something really innovative, interesting or creative. We're already addicted!

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Sarbanes-Oxley Act & implications

Checklist for Accountability (Summer 2005)

Sarbanes-Oxley has many nonprofit boards reexamining their approaches to governance. Although most of the act's provision do not apply to nonprofits--yet--many organizations are planning for the scrutiny that they know is coming.

In the summer of 2005, Independent Sector put together this Checklist for Accountability to help boards enhance transparency as they strengthen their governance practices. It won't give you all the answers, but it does frame many of the key questions prompted by the same concerns that led to the enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Independent Sector's Draft Recommendations

Independent Sector, the nonpartisan coalition of leading nonprofits, foundations and corporations, has issued its draft recommendations in response to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee's deliberations on regulatory and legislative reform for the sector. Follow the underlined link above to read the most current version of the recommendations. Occasionally esoteric, but potentially far-reaching.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Its Implications for Nonprofits

In late 2003, two leading voices in the leadership and governance of nonprofits, BoardSource and Independent Sector, combined forces to write a white paper on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and its implications for the sector. There are many other sources on the topic available on the web, but few can claim similar relevance to the nonprofit board member, patron or staffer.

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Social entrepreneurs & venture philanthropists


Developing the profession of social entrepreneurship around the world.

How to Change the World

How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, by David Bornstein

Journalist Bornstein (The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank) profiles nine indomitable champions of social change who developed innovative ways to address needs they saw around them in places as distinct as Bombay, India; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and inner-city Washington, D.C.

MIX Market, The

"The global information exchange for the microfinance industry," facilitating investment flows, promoting transparency, and improving reporting standards.

Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network is a mission-based investment group committed to fostering individual self-empowerment on a global scale.


REDF — formerly known as The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund — exists to alleviate the problems of chroic poverty and hgomelessness in San Francisco. This is one of many locally focused social purpose business ventures.

Social Enterprise Alliance

Social Enterprise Alliance is a membership organization leading the creation of a social enterprise movement by mobilizing communities of nonprofit organizations and funders to advance earned-income strategies. Their list of supporters and partners is impressive indeed, as is their array of services to members.

Social Enterprise at Harvard Business School

Now in its 14th year, the Social Enterprise program at HBS has earned a stellar reputation as thought-leader and management resource.

Social Venture Network

SVN promotes new models and leadership for socially and environmentally sustainable business in the 21st century. The membership is eclectic, embracing all the names you would expect and many you wouldn't.

Stanford Social Innovation Review

Presenting "the best ideas in nonprofit management, philanthropy and corporate citizenship. Find out what works and what doesn't. And how to strengthen your social impact. "

The Purpose Prize

The Purpose Prize awards $100,000 each to five people over 60 who are taking on society's biggest challenges. It's for those with the passion and experience to discover new opportunities, create new programs, and make lasting change. Click the link below to meet the 15 finalists for 2006.

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Melissa Data

One of those sites you didn't know you needed, Melissa Data allows you to locate nonprofits six ways to Sunday. Ever wonder how many charitable organziations are based in your neighborhood? Which ones cite a specific word or phrase in their name (a rare disease, say)? These are the folks to check with. The service is free with registration, but be warned: The look-ups can be addictive!

National Center for Charitable Statistics

If your question about nonprofits has a numerical answer, you can probably find it here. A program of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (CNP) at the Urban Institute, the National Center for Charitable Statistics is the clearinghouse of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States. Formerly part of the research arm of Independent Sector.

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Survey tools

Survey Monkey

Of the free or low-cost web-based survey tools available, Survey Monkey is our favorite. It may take a few tries to understand the logic, but once you have completed your first successful survey, the next ones will be a breeze.


Not quite as flexible or as full-featured as Survey Monkey, Zoomerang is a very competent, easy-to-use survey resource. Its sample survey templates will save you a lot of time, and the free service may be all you need.

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Tax matters

IRS information

If you are thinking of creating a nonprofit organization, need information on filing requirements, want to know more about unrelated business income or don't know the difference between a charity and a trade association, this official IRS site is a terrific resource.

State tax & regulatory issues

State government web sites with useful information for tax-exempt organizations, including who's in charge of charities regulations and what to file when. Whether you are already operating or just starting, there is something here for you. Dry as a bone, cumbersome once you leave the IRS pages and wade into sites of the 50 states, but vital for every tax-exempt entity.

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Charity Guide: Make a difference 15 minutes at a time

Charity Guide connects would-be volunteers with opportunities and ideas, with the goal to "inspire and facilitate more than one million acts of kindness per year."

Their delightfully creative approach organzies opportunbitiesd into three categories: "How to Make a Difference in 15 Minutes," "How to Make a Difference in a Few Hours," and "How to Make a Difference During a Volunteer Vacation."

Hands On Network

Now part of the Points of Light Institute, Hands On Network inspires, equips, and mobilizes people to take action that changes the world.

Points of Light Institute

Points of Light Institute was created by the merger of the Points of Light Foundation and Hands On Network in August 2007. The result is a powerful, integrated national organization with a global focus to redefine volunteerism and civic engagement for the 21st century. Full disclosure: In 2008/2009, BoardWalk had the privilege of recruiting POLI's COO.


"Find a volunteer opportunity for whatever you like doing." As of April 2009, Volunteer Match had referred over 4,000,000 volunteers to over 64,000 organizations in hundreds of communities.

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Web content, design & hosting


Bluetube seamlessly blends creative and technical for enterprise, mobile, tablet, and web. We are Digital Experience Pioneers who blend creative and technical in everything we do. Our collective experience from Fortune 500s to startups, along with award winning designs, and strong technical and architectural backgrounds, makes us uniquely qualified to navigate the complexities and ever-changing world of interactive, mobile, and web technologies.

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