Critical Conversations on the Future of Nonprofit Governance

Convened by
The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership
Bloch School of Management at the
University of Missouri - Kansas City
and The Nonprofit Quarterly
Co-Sponsored by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management

April 4-5, 2013
Embassy Suite on the Country Club Plaza
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.

The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership and The Nonprofit Quarterly, in collaboration with the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, are pleased to announce and invite you to attend our 2013 Nonprofit Governance Conference. Over the last decade we have witnessed many events and changes that have affected the pace and scope of the nonprofit sector. This year's conference theme - Critical Conversations on the Future of Nonprofit Governance - not only reflects the growing interest we observe in various governance related issues across the globe but also challenges practitioners and researchers to consider from multiple perspectives the emerging shape of governance and the future of board work.

This highly participative conference will employ the Midwest Center model that has been successful in our previous academic-practitioner conferences. It serves as a relatively intimate gathering of those who are serious about sharing and shaping governance ideas and learning, and it will offer multiple opportunities for formal and informal discussion and dialogue among the consultants, executives, and academics who are most engaged in addressing these challenges. A key element of the conference is sharing highlights and insights emerging from recent governance research. Equally valuable are the opportunities to build on and go beyond the theory and research - for experienced leaders who are exploring new and innovative strategies and approaches in their communities and organizations to share their perspectives in facilitated and informal discussions. Half of the conference sessions will be facilitated (non-presentation) dialogue sessions, each focused on a specific issue or topic of interest.

Research on nonprofit boards and governance has developed substantially in the past decade, and important insights have emerged as scholars and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines and fields are providing rigorous and new knowledge about governance and boards. Significant progress notwithstanding, practitioners and scholars alike continue to find it a challenge to understand the complex and changing nature of nonprofit governance and the boards that engage in it. Among the key topics we expect to explore at this year's conference:

Social Entrepreneurship and Governance

Boards of nonprofit organizations are mandated to behave as prudent stewards of resources, yet they also are exhorted to become more entrepreneurial and take new kinds of risks. How are boards responding, and what are the implications of such expectations for boards and the practice of governance? Is there such a thing as socially-entrepreneurial governance?

Advances of Information Technology and Governance

How are emerging technologies and information systems advances affecting governance systems and the ways they work? Are social media and social networking technologies changing the dynamics of governance? What are the short-and long-term effects of new technology on key governance functions?

Networks, Hybrid Structures and Innovations in Governance

New and unique forms of organization and organized action are being developed, including various forms of networks and other distributed systems of service delivery, and there are many questions about how these evolving forms of organization are being led and governed. A special area of interest is the changing nature of movement networks. Further, as nonprofit and for-profit forms of enterprise continue to blend, what are we learning about social enterprise governance that might help us understand the governance for each?

Nonprofit and Public Sector Governance

What are we learning about important differences and similarities, and what should we be studying as we examine governance at the intersection of public sector and nonprofit sector work? Are there overarching frameworks or models that might be useful to help us understand governance across all sectors and levels?

Power, Influence and Inclusion

Who really governs nonprofit organizations? What actors in and around nonprofits have the power to influence governance and with what consequences? What are we learning about the implications of having more or less inclusive governance arrangements and systems in place?

The Future of Research on Nonprofit Boards and Governance

As we identify and work to understand all of these kinds of challenges and dynamics, are we developing new research models or methods that are better suited to the next generation of governance research? Where should we enhance our fields of inquiry?

The conference is designed to be a relatively intimate gathering of those who are serious about sharing and shaping governance ideas and learning. To facilitate active dialogue, the conference will be limited to 150 participants, about half of whom will be nonprofit and community leaders and practitioners.

Questions about the conference may be directed to conference co-directors:

David Renz
Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership
University of Missouri - Kansas City

Ruth McCambridge
The Nonprofit Quarterly

Brent Never
Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership
University of Missouri - Kansas City

Henry W. Bloch School of Management
5110 Cherry Street
Kansas City, MO 64110

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