My guests today are Gayle Gifford and Mike Burns. Gayle has spent time in the trenches, organizing for peace, environmental, human, and civil rights. She served as Director of Development and Communications at PLAN USA, as Deputy Director/Director of Development and Marketing at Save The Bay, and as Director of Development at CityYear RI before launching her own business in 1996 with master communicator  Jon Howard (who also happens to be her spouse).

Gayle earned the advanced fundraising credential, ACFRE, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, in 2002. That’s a distinction held by only 100 or so fundraisers worldwide. She has an M.S. in organization and management from Antioch University New England.

Gayle an adjunct instructor at Brown University. She serves as board chair for  Blackstone Academy Charter School serves on the Advisory Council for Latino Dollars for Scholars of Rhode Island.

She lives in Providence, RI with her husband and a cat. She is mom to three adult children who are all also involved in public service.

Mike Burns began his career as an executive director of a community health center and now has over 20 years’ experience as a nonprofit manager. Since 1994 Mike has been an organizational development consultant and partner in BWB Solutions. Since 2017 Mike has been faculty in the University of New Haven’s Nonprofit Management Certificate Program. Mike’s consulting practice focuses on strategic planning, governance and helping nonprofits assess their readiness for strategic alliances.

Mike operates an organic farm and has been a professional foster parent for nearly 20 years!

Mike and Gayle are fellow researchers with Mary on two national studies about nonprofit board leadership conducted through the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. They have conducted their own research in New England on how the pandemic has affected board practices, which is the topic of today’s episode.

We discuss what they learned from surveying over 100 nonprofits about how the pandemic is affecting board practices. You will learn about board meetings, board member engagement, changes in how planning is being approached and more.

You can access the free training Mary has for you: 3 Mistakes Nonprofit Leaders Make Orienting Board Members by going to

Contact Mike at and Gayle at,

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