Is your board of directors exceptional?

exceptionalOn Tuesday evening I found myself sitting in front of a group of board volunteers as well as prospects who were contemplating joining the board. What started off as a routine training about basic board roles and responsibilities morphed into a discussion about what makes an exceptional board.

According to BoardSource and other non-profit experts, the following principles go into making exceptions boards:

  1. Effective partnership between the board and its executive director
  2. Asking questions and engaging in respectful debates and discussions
  3. Strategic thinking and vision-focused discussions integrated into board meetings
  4. Mission-focused and driven with the agency’s mission infused throughout everything it does including fundraising, decision-making, etc
  5. Transparency in everything the board does with the community understanding all of its decisions
  6. Independent minded with conflicts of interest constantly being identified and mitigated
  7. Measuring the agency’s impact and ensuring that outcomes are achieved
  8. Life-long learners sit around the boardroom table and relish evaluation opportunities and want to learn how to do things better
  9. Focused on how to engage all board volunteers in securing more resources and linking the organization’s strategic plan to its budget
  10. Intentional in all of its actions including establishing the size of the board, committee structure, and other various governance questions
  11. Integrity rooted in an ethics policy, oversight and audit
  12. Planned turnover in the boardroom supported by thoughtful recruitment efforts

Do you think these things define an exceptional board? Is anything missing? What are the more difficult things to achieve on this laundry list?

Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts and experiences.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on January 16, 2014, in Board development, Board governance, nonprofit and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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