By Kari Jolly, Tax Associate | Not-For-Profit Industry Team
Profile of an Effective Not-For-Profit Governing Board
Thinking about launching a not-for-profit (NFP) organization and want to put your best effort forward? Or is your NFP off the ground but struggling to gain altitude? Perhaps you are interested in serving a NFP and want to understand what that means for you. Joining like-minded individuals who together want to make the world a better place is a great beginning – what comes next is what differentiates between the NFP organization that achieves its mission and those that wither. An effective governing board that is diverse, forward thinking and mission driven is the differentiator. Pulling together that board requires thoughtful consideration and attention.
What Makes an Effective Governing Board?
An effective governing board is one that is sufficiently diverse so as to serve all of the organization’s needs. Diversity of talent is critical – if every member of the board has the same experiences or skills, the board becomes nothing more than an echo chamber reverberating one idea. The end result is in an organization that becomes stagnant, with a mission that goes unrealized. Of course you need industry experts – but who else? Who will be your business and compliance advisor? Your marketing guru? Who will lead your fundraising efforts? Take a critical look at your organization’s governing board and then ask – “Will this skill set advance achievement of our mission?” If the answer is not a resounding “yes,” then it’s time to reassess and reorder.
Beyond recruiting the people your organization needs, it’s important to think about how you will retain those people. Not-for-Profit board members are often volunteers willing to donate their time and skills to a worthy cause. Keep your volunteers engaged through ongoing education about the organization’s achievements, impact on target community and future needs. Provide the resources they need to execute their duties and to understand the importance of their role in the organization. Your guiding light in all of this should be the organization’s mission statement – it is the reason your NFP exists. If you aren’t achieving your mission then you are on the road to being irrelevant and your volunteers may decide to share their talents elsewhere.
The takeaway from all this is: recognize your needs – live the mission – be proactive. And take heart…you don’t have to go this alone. Not-for-Profit industry experts are available and ready to connect you with the resources needed to achieve your vision.
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About the Author
The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.