SDSU Extension Launches ‘Building Highly Effective Boards’ Series

South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension’s Community Vitality team will soon be releasing a new educational series — all centered around board members, meetings and missions. Communities, businesses and organizations looking to create a new board or improve an existing board are invited to sign up for the “Building Highly Effective Boards” training sessions this fall.

“Strong board leadership can be the difference between the success and failure of core community organizations, such as schools, churches, non-profits and more,” says Joshua Hofer, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist. “This course is designed for organizations looking to both strengthen and empower existing board members, while also being a resource for onboarding new board members.”

The course is comprised of seven modules spanning a range of topics, many requested by South Dakota communities. They include: “Board Fundamentals: Roles and Holding Effective Meetings,” “First Class Group Dynamics – Trust, Ethics and Conflict,” “Compelling Storytelling and Mission-Driven Fundraising,” “Technically Speaking: Understanding Procedure and Legal Fundamentals,” “Core Financial Concepts for Nonprofit Boards,” “Finding, Engaging and Strengthening Board Members” and “Strategic Planning for Boards.”

The modules are designed to be delivered in two-hour segments, but subjects can be expanded and combined upon request. “Strategic Planning for Boards” has a longer format, with day-long or multiple-day sessions available.

SDSU Extension Community Vitality Program Manager Kari O’Neill notes the course will be comprehensive and timely.

“Our goal in developing these interactive workshops is to provide a broad framework that builds knowledge and effectiveness in local, regional or statewide boards,” says O’Neill. “Whether it be financial literacy or board recruitment processes, this needed resource will join a growing consortium of governance resources available in South Dakota.”

While many of the modules will be applicable to all different types of organizations managed by a board, Hofer says there is broad applicability for nonprofits in the state.

“Nearly 15% of South Dakota’s workforce is employed in the nonprofit sector, with over 91% of South Dakota public charities operating on a revenue of less than $1 million annually,” says Hofer. “Getting support and resources to these organizations is good for business, while also being a vital piece of support for the most at-need in our state.”

For more information, program costs and registration, visit the SDSU Extension Building Highly Effective Boards page ( or contact Hofer at 605-995-7379 or, or O’Neill at 605-685-6972 or