Even with all the articles that define whose job is whose, it is difficult to sucinctly say if a Board Member is micromanaging or if the Executive Director is exepecting too much from volunteers. The complete answer lies in what kind of board the organization has or needs (governing, working, fundraising) and if everyone has a consensus around the direction of the organization, if every member of the team has been recruited well with a clear job description. But even when this is all in place - questions still arise. Especially when someone questions integrity, ethics or due diligence. This link guides you to a document that may help you decide how much oversight you do - or don't need - and how to tell what is appropriate. Pay close attention to the "tools of trust" - these tools allow a board to sit back just a bit and rely on their Executive Director to do their job, but sometimes this list gives the board permission to look a little closer....
In January of 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit, a landmark decision was made that is critical to boards and emphasizes the importance of due diligence and good governance. This case highlights the importance of addressing staff realities, having an effective audit committee, protecting each other (risk management) and beging attendtive to compliance basics like making sure all board members understand the duties of care, their responsibilities related to the IRS Form 990 as well as other issues surrounding conflict of interest and basic accounting procedures. Read the article here: The Cost of Director Inattentiveness
Use this document like a "job description" for your board members. Knowing and understanding your basic legal and ethical responsibilities as well as the basic functions of the board will help your organization be more effective. Basic-Board-Responsibilities.pdf
Evaluating your own performance is a great practice. Use this tool to help identify strengths and weaknesses on your board. The scoring tool will help you focus your efforts. We recommend that all board members take the assessment - and remember, consesus is more important than your score. Call us if you need help. Quick-Board-Self-Assessment.pdf
Your bylaws are the most important and critical document you will create. Bylaws create the structure by which your organization is to be goverened. Amending bylaws is a normal business practice. You should review your bylaws every few years. This is a useful checklist to help ensure you have included all the components necessary. Bylaw-Checklist.pdf
Running a meeting effectively can mean the difference between getting things done or spinning your wheels with no plan of action. This document will help you use basic Roberts Rules of Order to help you follow a process for efficient dicussions and decision making. Roberts-Rules-for-Beginners.pdf
Hiring leadership is one of the most important duties of a nonprofit board. Click here for a suggestions on how and where to recruit your next Executive Director. Suggested-Process-for-Recruting-an-Executive-Director.pdf
A fully engaged, active board doesn't happen organically. It takes deliberate acts, concentrated efforts, planning and lots of behind the scenes work to create a board that understands their role and takes governance seriously. Click here for an article that discusses how to engage your board.
One of the legal duties of a board member is the Duty of Loyalty: The duty of loyalty is a standard of faithfulness; a board member must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization. A Board of Trustees is supposed to be an independent group of thinkers representing the community served who pledges allegiance to the mission of the organization.
By definition, in the presence of a conflict of interest, loyalty and allegiance are challenged. Click here for a sample Conflict of Interest policy that helps address this complex conversation.