On 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:
- Effective partnership between the board and its executive director
- Asking questions and engaging in respectful debates and discussions
- Strategic thinking and vision-focused discussions integrated into board meetings
- Mission-focused and driven with the agency’s mission infused throughout everything it does including fundraising, decision-making, etc
- Transparency in everything the board does with the community understanding all of its decisions
- Independent minded with conflicts of interest constantly being identified and mitigated
- Measuring the agency’s impact and ensuring that outcomes are achieved
- Life-long learners sit around the boardroom table and relish evaluation opportunities and want to learn how to do things better
- Focused on how to engage all board volunteers in securing more resources and linking the organization’s strategic plan to its budget
- Intentional in all of its actions including establishing the size of the board, committee structure, and other various governance questions
- Integrity rooted in an ethics policy, oversight and audit
- 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!
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC