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The Nonprofit Guide to Effective Board Membership

As a Board member of a nonprofit, you are making a significant commitment of time, energy, and resources. In accepting a position on the Board, you have agreed to accept two basic responsibilities: support and governance. Each of these require different skill sets and expertise. As a “supporter,” Board members fundraise, introduce contacts to the organization, and serve as ambassadors to the community (both the public and private sectors). On the other hand, the “governance” role involves protection of the public interest, serving as a fiduciary, selecting and assessing the Executive Director, ensuring compliance with legal and tax requirements, and evaluating the organization’s work. All of this needs to be done in accordance with the organization’s mission, which remains the underlying compass that should guide your actions.

It is important for you to understand the requirements that come with your acceptance of a Board position. This guide will provide some insight to you on how to be a more effective Board member. This includes understanding your duties, your role versus the role of the Executive Director, the various committees that may exist within your organization, legislation such as NYPMIFA, how to read the information provided to you, and more.

The environment that nonprofits operate in is getting tougher, with: increased government regulations and audits; more competition for fundraised dollars, as donors look for increased social return on investments; and a change in focus in measuring nonprofit effectiveness from fiscal measurements to operational measurements. Outputs have given way to outcomes, with a need for organizations to measure their social impacts, the deciding factor.

Take the time to read through this guide, and share it with other Board members. If you have any questions about any of the material within this guide, or if we can be any assistance to you or your agency, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our many nonprofit specialists will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

Thank you for making a difference in the nonprofit sector.

Download the full Nonprofit Guide to Effective Board Membership

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Governance: It’s Not Rocket Science

At a recent board meeting with a new client, I found myself at the table with a number of brilliant and acclaimed scientists, some of whom had worked for NASA at different points in their careers. The board members’ individual accomplishments aside, this organization’s governance was abysmal.

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