Mastering the Art of Nonprofit Board Governance

Ask many people who work or serve on a nonprofit board and a lot of times you’re going to hear a consistent theme. Often, board members don’t have a thorough understanding about how to adequately serve on a nonprofit board, and unfortunately, many organizations don’t have the resources to hire trainers to help people with good intentions to become effective leaders.

The reality is that serving well on a nonprofit board is a bit of an art and indeed a privilege that comes with responsibilities, including legal and regulatory obligations. Board members should always view themselves as a representative of the community and a bridge to the nonprofit organization where you serve. Because board members are considered to have a special status and position when they help lead nonprofits, they should be aware of what not to do to ensure they are performing appropriately.

Serving Is Not a Hobby: Serving on a nonprofit board can have benefits for board members because people meet like-minded peers. For instance, you may well encounter individuals who will help you in your career or business as you develop new relationships with them during meetings and events. However, it’s always important to remember that the main reason you’re serving on a board is that although there are soft benefits that could potentially come with the role am335x evaluation board, your primary focus has got to be to provide the charity with your time, talent and money. Serving on a nonprofit board is a serious responsibility and requires commitment and attention to ensure that you’re bringing your “A game” to the cause.

It’s Not Just About the Mission: Every organization should focus on the mission, of course, but it’s not only about the cause. It is essential for board members to be fluent and conversant on the mission, vision, statistics, facts, stories and strategic plan of the organization. The mission is just one element of the whole picture, and board members should understand it at a high level, primarily when they are engaged with others outside of the organization. When board members go out to meet with donors and prospects, the executive director or a fundraiser typically accompanies them. Team members can explain, give details and provide more color to the words and conversations of a board member, but each board leader should work to be fluent enough about the organization and its work to be able to participate in a substantive discussion.

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