Monday, October 31, 2011

Boards Are Lacking in Meeting Executive’s Needs

By Gary Snyder

With a seventy-five percent turn over of executives of charities predicted, recruiting will be fast and furious in the next couple of years. Just as boards will be interviewing executives, executives will be interviewing boards.

According to a report by the Urban Institute, governing bodies had better shape up if they want to bring on the top tier candidates. Many executives are concerned about the board’s failure to become active in carrying out its obligations.

Here are some steps that boards can immediately take to become more engaged:

• Develop a procedure for the board to regularly monitor its own performance. Identify and correct weaknesses and train board members to strengthen the board. Strong boards make strong organizations; a selling point in recruiting.
• Develop criteria that can be used in the recruiting new board members that will make the board more engaged with a skill set and backgrounds that make the board more influential. Boards partnering with an executive show the ground rules that the exec. will have to live by.
• Assist the executive in the recruitment of new board members. Teamwork engenders a joint responsibility.
• Share authority with the executive by helping to set the boards agenda and giving the board in involvement. Bring both board and staff perspectives to the boardroom.
• Keep the decision-making at the board level and not making the executive a voting member. The demarcation of responsibilities is easier without a board vote by the executive.
• With the increased public scrutiny of agencies, board members should be active in the submission of their IRS Form 990, public relations and policy making.
• Board members should share in the assessment of determining if it is accomplishing its mission. Remember the ultimate authority is the board, not the executive.
• A partnership should be developed between the board and executive in setting fundraising goals and raising funds. It will lift a major burden from the shoulders of the executive, giving s/him some additional time to complete operational responsibilities.

These small but very important board responsibilities will lead to a collaborative relationship, avoiding the discontent that is seemingly so pervasive. It will ensure a climate that will be more to the liking of the new executive.

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics, ,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more • Nonprofits: On the Brink (iUniverse, 2006)
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