Giving Compass' Take:
- James Mueller, writing for PhilanTopic, lists seven principles that will make up highly effective nonprofit boards.
- How can donors help support nonprofit board success?
- Read more about boards and governance.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
The challenges of governing a nonprofit are often more complicated than those faced by board members of similar-sized for-profit entities. This is because nonprofit board members are called upon to be trustees of the public good, voices for their communities, advocates of their cause, and ambassadors eager to build a band of true believers, giving their organizations the best chance to create the greatest impact for the most people.
Attending to the seven principles of highly effective nonprofit boards can help your organization set the stage for success:
Principle #1: Culture. Every board has a culture — either by default or intention. Culture is the foundation on which sound governance is built. Healthy cultures are inquisitive and invite diverse perspectives and debate.
Principle #2: Character. The time to screen for character is before a board member is seated. Too often, assumptions are made about a person's character based on first impressions or just because they are willing to serve on your board.
Principle #3: Competence. It is vital for a sitting board to genuinely examine the board member competencies it may be lacking and needs in order to become a highly effective board.
Principle #4: Connections. Being connected to your constituency is fundamental to a nonprofit's ability to achieve its mission.
Principle #5: Composition. Building strong boards that embody the character, competence, connections, and diversity organizations need to thrive is not a complicated process.
Principle #6: Continuity. Knowledge of how a nonprofit is organized, functions, and performs over time is critical to sound governance and decision-making.
Principle #7: Collaboration. Collaboration is the mindset that enables people to work together cooperatively to advance a cause.
Read the full article about effective nonprofit boards by James Mueller at PhilanTopic.