Giving Compass' Take:

• Stanford Social Innovation Review explores the qualities of strong nonprofit leadership, emphasizing that engagement is key for all board members.

• Are we doing all we can to hold those who govern our organizations accountable? What steps should we take to make sure mission and actions align?

• Here' are five steps to improving board performance.

For nonprofits to leverage the potential of new technologies and new ideas — from mobile connectivity to randomized evaluation — everyone with a stake in the sector must work to narrow the distance between what nonprofit organizations might achieve and what they are actually achieving today.

Better governance at a board level starts with board members themselves. They need to approach their work for a nonprofit as a matter not of passive service but of active participation in the direction of that organization. (They call it a “board of directors” for a reason.) While reviewing budgets, project proposals, and strategic plans will always be a core function of a nonprofit board, those who sit on a board should demand opportunities to engage directly with “the thing itself” — the frontline activities that their organization pursues.

Chris Bischof, cofounder and principal of Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, Calif., cites this aspect of his organization as an important factor in its success. “At least half of the board members are on campus daily or weekly, tutoring or teaching after-school classes to kids or engaging in other ways. This involvement causes the board to really have their pulse on the school,” he says.

Read the full article about filling gaps in nonprofit leadership by William F. Meehan III & Kim Starkey Jonker at Stanford Social Innovation Review.