An Olive Branch | Newsletter Archive
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Newsletter Archive

On this page, our newsletters are arranged in two chronological sections corresponding to two themes.

First theme: Safer Sanghas

Finding ways to provide for members’ safety in the current climate of ethical misconduct. In consecutive issues (August – December 2014), four elements were discussed: bylaws, ethics and whistleblower policies, grievance procedures, and training.

Second theme: Board Governance

Boards of Buddhist nonprofits may face challenges not found by boards of secular organizations: role confusion, power imbalance, and lack of knowledge. In consecutive issues (January – April 2015), four board responsibilities were discussed: setting direction, planning, ensuring adequate resources, and relating to the chief executive — who often is also the spiritual leader.

August 2014

Safe Sanghas: Part One

In this newsletter, we introduce the idea of “safer sanghas” and four elements that can be used to increase safety for sangha members. The first element, bylaws, is discussed and links are provided to articles on fiduciary duties.

September 2014

Safe Sanghas: Part Two

This issue of our newsletter continues exploring elements that contribute to a safe sangha. Here you will find information on policies – why they are needed, the types of policies that all nonprofits should have, and resources for ethics and whistleblower policies.

October 2014

Safe Sanghas: Part Three

Even with bylaws and ethics policies to govern an organization, things can go wrong. This issue of our newsletter explores grievance procedures – how to create a grievance procedure and provisions that should be included.

December 2014

Safe Sanghas: Part Four

In this issue of our newsletter, we conclude the four-part series on safer sanghas by discussing the importance of training. Strong bylaws, clear policies, and solid grievance procedures are essential, but if no one knows about them they are ineffective. Training for teachers, leaders, and sangha members is the fourth element necessary to protect students from ethical misconduct.

January 2015

Board Governance: Part One

With this issue of our newsletter, we begin a new series on board governance. Boards of Buddhist nonprofits may face three challenges not found by boards of secular organizations: role confusion, power imbalance, and lack of knowledge. This issue offers information on the board’s responsibility to set organizational direction through the mission statement.

February 2015

Board Governance: Part Two

This month’s newsletter discusses the board’s responsibility to ensure effective planning. An article titled “Why Have a Plan” explains the importance of having a plan that puts limited resources – money, board, volunteers, and staff – to the highest, best, and most focused us. Two of our webinars on Ethics in American Buddhism are highlighted.

March 2015

Board Governance: Part Three

The series on board governance continues this month with a focus on the board’s responsibility to ensure adequate resources. Tips for improving fundraising performance are included. Our third webinar, “Leading with Values” is previewed and a book recommendation is provided: How Good People Make Tough Choices by Rushworth Kidder, founder of the Institute for Global Ethics.

April 2015

Board Governance: Part Four

In Buddhist nonprofits, the relationship between the board of directors and the spiritual leader/head priest/executive director is full of pitfalls and misunderstandings. In the US, when an organization is granted 501.c.3 status by the IRS, the board is the legal entity that is responsible for engaging, supporting, evaluating, and terminating the chief executive. This newsletter explores this key relationship.