Boards of Directors

board of directorsBoards of Directors are essential. They are required by law to ensure that the public good is furthered. They should also be a vital resource access not just to funds but also to community connections and expertise. Unfortunately, too many boards are ineffective and seem to the staff and to themselves to be of  questionable value.

In some senses, this should not be surprising. Outside the nonprofit world, there is extraordinarily little understanding of the nature and function of 501(c)(3) organizations. As a result, virtually no one comes to nonprofit board service with understanding of the nature of the work. Further, in an effort to secure board members, expectations are sometimes minimized, and training is minimal or haphazard. And for many, board service is too often boring meetings that have little purpose or meaning, tasks are not challenging or interesting, and the chief executive’s has a lack of enthusiasm for the board’s input.

Since boards are a required fact of nonprofit life, it is imperative that the value they can afford should be tapped. The keys to doing so are effective recruitment and training processes; creation of a culture in which meetings are productive, meaningful, and fun; and establishment of an on-going process of board evaluation as a whole and of members individually.

Over the years we have the I had the opportunity to work with a number of nonprofit boards. In some cases, we have participated as board members. In some cases, we facilitated workshops for boards and other nonprofit organizations. As a result, some of our conclusions are summarized in a white paper titles A Conversation About Board Engagement. That white paper is available at no cost on our website It is located under the contact us tab special offers and can be downloaded. If you would prefer, we can send you that white paper via email, just send an email to and request that information.