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Ripple Effect Curriculum

A Look at the Program's Classes


Based on combined decades of experience with nonprofit boards, the Ripple Effect Steering Committee has developed a number of sessions to help member ministry boards accelerate to the next level. Below are some of the sessions used in past cohorts. The content may vary slightly moving forward.


The Ripple Effect TeamThe High Calling of Service

Welcome and Introduction

Toward a Healthy Governance Model

  • The Infinite Varieties of Boards—Ad Hoc and Structured
  • What is “Policy Governance” and Why Does It Work So Well?
    • What Boards Are Good At
    • What Management Is Good At
    • Distinguishing Ends from Means
    • The Benefits of Executive Limitations
    • Exercise: Where Are You in This?
  • Expressing Board Decisions as Policies
    • The Four Policy Types
    • Principles for Creating Effective Policies
  • Key Responsibilities of the Board as a Group
  • Responsibilities of Board Members as Individuals
  • Ten Board Member Expectations (Pearson)
  • Creating and Maintaining a Board Policy Manual
  • Introducing the Concept of a Commitment to Good Governance

Clarifying Board and Management Roles

  • Complementary Roles, Not Adversarial
  • The Board Leads as a Whole
    • The Board Speaks with One Voice
  • The Three Hats of Board Members
  • How Authority Works within the Two Hemispheres
  • Essential Responsibilities of a Chair
  • Essential Responsibilities of a CEO
  • Chair/President: The Most Important Relationship in the Organization
  • Exercise: Sorting Out Two Sticky Situations

Decision-Making: The Discernment Principle

  • Tactical Tools: Pre-Framed Questions, Decision Trees, and Other Techniques
  • Deciding vs. Discerning: A Corporate Approach or the New Testament Process?
  • Unity in Essentials
  • Seeking Spirit-Led Neutrality
  • Attending to Your Emotional Response
  • Praying, Listening, and Sharing—Structuring to Hear Clearly
  • Acceptable Definitions of “Agreement”
  • Exercise: A Spirit-Led Approach to a Key Decision
  • Handouts in This Section

Wise Stewardship of Resources

  • The Board’s Role in Financial Stewardship
  • The Importance of Financial Formats—Opacity vs. Transparency
  • Defining Success: What Should Be My Primary and Secondary Metrics
  • The Balance Sheet—Testing for Solvency
  • Cash Flow—Testing for Solvency
  • The Question of Debt in a Nonprofit
  • Income Growth Through Diverse Revenue Streams
  • The Key Public Ratios and How to Manage Them
  • Exercise: Five Great Questions—Rate Yourself

Effective Board Building

  • The CEO and Board Roles in Building a Superior Board
  • Start With the End in Mind: Building a Board Profile
  • The Farm Team Concept
  • Elements in Attracting the Very Best
  • Molding Your Board into a Team
  • Exercise: Building a Sample Board Profile
  • Feedback—A Commitment to Excellence (Ed)

Succession Planning

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