A proactive, involved board is a tremendous asset to a nonprofit organization. Especially with increasing competition for donation dollars, the role board members play has a significant impact on the organization’s bottom line and sustainability. Here are six best practices that contribute to the cohesiveness and stability of boards:
- Focus on the mission. A board that fully supports the mission with involvement in activities naturally promotes the organization in the community.
- Set expectations. Require attendance at meetings and events, a signed code of ethics and fundraising participation. Be sure that expectations and responsibilities are in a written document, available for all.
- Participate in the operations of the organization sometime during the year. This practice facilitates relationships between board members and staff and gives the board member a greater understanding of the day-to-day workings of the organization.
- Diversify board make up with varying ages, business skills and community networks. Provide opportunities for training about the organization and emphasize ways to leverage the contributions of all individuals.
- Meet regularly. Monthly meetings are typically best. Use the advantages of technology, such as Skype, to increase attendance opportunities as needed.
- Place a priority on governance with integrity. Eliminate potential conflicts of interest with independent board members (no employees or vendors).
A well-functioning board sets the tone for the organization. Commitment, involvement and focus combined with clarity of expectations make for a smoother running organization and pave the way for the mission’s success.