Boards

Overview

Boards

The board of directors oversees the activities of a nonprofit organization, and is accountable to its owners, the public.

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Taking Action on Board Diversity
Five Questions to Get You Started

Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices published by BoardSource reveals some troubling information about the diversity of today’s nonprofit boards. We’re making little progress in diversifying our boards, are dissatisfied with our board diversity, but are doing little to prioritize it in our board recruitment practices. In an effort to spark action, they present five questions for your board to contemplate.

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Leading with Intent
Biennial study of nonprofit boards

BoardSource released Leading with Intent, their biennial study of nonprofit board composition, culture, and performance.

Organized into four broad categories, Leading with Intent 2017 explores the relationship between nonprofit board composition, board structure, board culture, and the way the board does its work. It includes information on board impact and concludes with opportunities for board reflection and action within individual boards.

Download a free copy of the report.

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Top 10 Ways to Get Investigated by a State Regulator

Nonprofit board members need to understand the regulatory environment in which their organizations operate. State attorneys general have the power to bring a nonprofit to justice if it is not in compliance with state laws. How can you avoid these top ten legal risks? BoardSource has compiled this resource to help you do just that. 

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Board-Staff Interaction
What’s Acceptable, What’s Not?

Without realizing it, many nonprofits put their boards on an imaginary pedestal, which leaves many employees — especially new employees — unsure about how to approach board members. This compilation of FAQs form BoardSource helps explain the intricacies (and the benefits) of the board–staff partnership.

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Voices of Board Chairs
A National Study on the Perspectives of Board Chairs

An in depth look at the making of the board chair.  How they prepare for and perceive their role in relation to the board, the community and the chief executive officer.  Download the report here.

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Engaged and On Board
2015 National Survey of Board Members

This 2015 study, Engaged and On Board, by 2B Communications, offers insight and guidance to nonprofit leaders as they work to enhance the engagement and effectiveness of their board members.

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What You Need To Know: A Board Member’s Guide to Common Questions About Advocacy
Free from BoardSource

What You Need To Know: A Board Member’s Guide to Common Questions About Advocacy is a 13-page presentation that answers important questions about what advocacy is, who should be doing it, why it’s important, and how to follow the rules depending on what type of organization you represent.

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Board Member Connect
Recruitment service for board members

Board Member Connect is a nonprofit board recruiting firm that offers two levels of service — basic candidate identification and a premium, more advanced board-matching service — both of which are deeply discounted for BoardSource organizational members.

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Can Nonprofits Pay Board Members or Appoint Paid Staff?

Board Members Are Usually Volunteers

Even though compensating board members is common in the business world, only a small percentage of nonprofits compensate board members.

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A Few Good Tools: Board Portals and Other Ways to Collaborate

Software can bridge the distance and unite dispersed collaborators by making it easy to present, review, and comment on information. Some tools are designed for more general collaboration and can be tailored to meet the more specific needs of a board. Others are purpose-built for the board environment.  A Few Good Tools: Board Portals and Other Ways to Collaborate from Idealware can help you sort it out.

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2015 Survey on Board of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations
Most nonprofit boards fall far short

In fall 2014, Stanford Graduate School of Business, in collaboration with BoardSource and GuideStar, surveyed 924 directors of nonprofit organizations about the composition, structure, and practices of their boards. “This extensive survey provides highly informative empirical data which underscores what many of us have been observing based on personal experience. In order for a nonprofit to achieve great impact, it needs a great board. And most nonprofit boards fall far short” says the study’s coauthor William F.

General information

Fast Facts About Boards
Quick answers to your basic questions about boards

Unlike private businesses, nonprofit organizations are not “owned” by anyone. Instead they are “owned” by the community: chartered by the government to serve a public purpose. The board of directors represents the community’s interests. The board, acting as governors or trustees, is charged with protecting the nonprofit organization’s public purpose. Nonprofit boards and boards of private corporations are similar in that both are responsible for the organization’s success.

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The Board and Fundraising
Raising money is a challenging board responsibility

In her article Getting to 100% Board Giving, author Jan Masaoka offers five great ideas to get you there.

Looking for ways to improve your board’s fundraising?  Engaging Board Members in Fundraising, is a comprehensive look at the current state of board engagement in fundraising.  You can use these research results to educate your board about their important role in fundraising.

Resource For MembersFor 3 day trials

Recruiting Board Members
Guidelines, tips and tools

BoardSource’s Board Recruitment Center has a Recruit Board Members section for nonprofit staff and board members where you can find some tips and tools on how to find the board members you need to succeed.   It also includes a section for individuals called Serve on a Nonprofit Board with an introduction and a 4 step learning experience to help potential board members find the right opportunity for them.

Resource For MembersFor 3 day trials

Board Member Contracts or Agreements
Help insure that your board members understand their responsibilities

Call it a contract or an agreement, it’s an excellent idea to have a written statement outlining your board members’ responsibilities and legal duties. 

Resource For MembersFor 3 day trials

Term Limits for Nonprofit Boards
Why they are important

The debate on term limits has been waging for decades, if not centuries.  So, there is no “settled” answer to this question.  But my own answer is very firm:  term limits—both for board members and officers—are a must.  My reasons underlying this answer are simple, and take into account the arguments put forth by those on the side of no term limits…

Resource For MembersFor 3 day trials

Evaluating the Board
Tools for self assessment

Board self-assessment aims to help a board do its job better by improving members’ understanding of their roles and responsibilities.  Using these self assessment tools can help your board become a stronger team, improve their problem solving skills and increase their accountability.   Tailor these samples to your organization’s needs.

Helpful link For MembersFor 3 day trials

Board Meetings
Agendas, minutes, parlimentary procedures, voting by email and other issues

One of the most effective ways to accomplish productive meetings — and strong governance — is to carefully design an agenda and then closely facilitate to that agenda. 

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Advisory Boards
Are you sure you want one?

Advisory boards or committees are made up of volunteers and are formed to give advice and recommendations to a nonprofit’s governing board or management staff.

Guidelines to Form an Advisory Group from the Free Management Library provides a broad overview on why and how to form an advisory committee.

Helpful link For MembersFor 3 day trials

Bylaws
Information on creating and maintaining your bylaws

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The Board of an All Volunteer Organization
Advice for groups in which nobody is paid

Many people work in groups in which nobody is paid, everyone is part-time, and everyone can leave any time they want.

Resource For MembersFor 3 day trials

A Board Members Guide to Nonprofit Mergers
How, Why & Why Not to Merge Nonprofit Organizations

The M Word: A Board Member’s Guide to Nonprofit Mergers, a study from CompassPoint, provides a road map to a merger’s expectations, processes, and obstacles.  Special sections depict seven organizations’ actual merger experiences, feature sample resolutions and worksheets, and highlight the key roles executive directors play in a merger. Also offers advice on how to close down an organization.

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The Principles Workbook
Steering Your Board Toward Good Governance and Ethical Practice

Is your organization looking for ways to evaluate your board?  The Principles Workbook: Steering Your Board to Good Governance and Ethical Practice, published by the Independent Sector and BoardSource, is designed to help nonprofits strengthen their governance and ethical practices. Organizations of all sizes, fields, and mission areas will find that it provides a platform on which they can build discussions that serve their unique needs and level of development.

Resource For MembersFor 3 day trials

Sample Dashboard Indicators
Dashboards can be valuable tools for the executive director and the board when making critical decisions

This sample from CompassPoint will give a framework as you begin to develop your own Indicators.

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