Nonprofit Boards and Corporate Governance

Working with nonprofit organizations gives me many opportunities to interact with Boards of Directors. Each Board has its own distinct personality. However, each Board also has some basic fiduciary responsibilities surrounding corporate governance, regardless of the organization’s sector, mission, size, or stage in its life cycle.

Those basic responsibilities of each Board member include:

  • Regular attendance and participation at Board meetings.
  • Familiarity with major Organization initiatives and the Organization’s mission and governing instruments, such as articles of incorporation and bylaws.
  • Familiarity with significant commitments made in relation to support and program service fee revenue-producing activities.
  • Financial knowledge and ability sufficient to approve budgets; review financial statements and operation reports on a timely basis so that informed decisions can be made; and authorize contractual, banking, and financial commitments. The Board as a group should have skills in all the legal, accounting, finance, and personnel areas for which a Board is responsible, even though any one member may not be skilled in every area.

A successful Board’s effectiveness could be enhanced by considering and evaluating the performance of the Board as a whole and each individual member in these areas.

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