In our final installment of articles related to the responsibilities of nonprofit boards, we look at three crucial elements for every organization: how to build and sustain a competent board, ensure legal and ethical integrity and enhance the public standing of the organization.
Building and Sustaining a Competent Board
It goes without saying that the governing board of every organization is only as effective as its individual members. To create a highly functional, well-balanced board, it is essential that the governance committee takes the lead and ensures the selection process functions at the highest level. This committee also has the responsibility to implement and maintain critical activities in building and sustaining the board, thereby ensuring the long-term development of the organization:
- Defining the ideal mix of experience, backgrounds, professional skills, demographics and other characteristics of prospective board members
- Clarifying expectations of all board members through the recruitment process
- Conducting new board member orientation
- Assessing the performance of individuals and the board as a whole
- Providing ongoing training and education as needed
Ensuring Legal and Ethical Integrity
Three important elements comprise legal and ethical integrity: compliance, transparency and accountability. High integrity means the organization strives to uphold all applicable laws and maintains a set of ethical values. At the same time, accurate information regarding revenue and expenses needs to be built into the system and shared with constituents, as well as providing accountability for its actions.
Enhancing the Organization’s Public Standing
Finally, the entire board should be engaged in advocacy as part of the organizational strategy. Volunteer board members, sharing their individual voices, are much more effective and influential than public support from a paid lobbyist or marketing firm.
The best results come when individual members are passionate about their philanthropic efforts. Together, a dynamic team can work to provide for the fundraising needs of the organization. Often, the board members have already given generous personal support, making them effective at generating donations from others as well.
There is no substitute for the natural conversation that comes when passionate, enthusiastic board members are talking about their organization. Board members need to be trained in communication with the public, which should include having an “elevator speech” describing the mission and purposes of the organization.
Do you need training and support for your non-profit board? Then Mirenda & Associates is just a phone call away. Our team can help with the implementation of effective board practices, helping to support the overall efforts of your organization.