Trends in non-profit governance?

great carnacI was reviewing some old non-profit board governance material this morning and came across a document talking about “trends in non-profit governance“. In other words, the person who wrote that paper thought s/he was able to predict the future. Of course, this document was written more than 10 years ago, which got me thinking it might be fun to review some of their trends and determine where they were right or wrong.

The following are just a few of the trends that I found interesting:

trends in nfp governance

As I review this list, there are a number of thoughts and questions running through my head. Let me spill those things out in the following bullet pointed list:

  • How many non-profit board have gotten smaller over the last decade? I wonder how that is going for them? Are they more effective or less effective?
  • Wow! They nailed the technology trend. I see many agencies conference calling people into meetings and doing some business via email polling and voting. (Not that I think it is very effective.)
  • Huh? The FROM-TO pertaining to fundraising is a little comical. I cannot tell you how many non-profit boards I’ve worked with who are very reluctant fundraising solicitors. 
  • Really? Once in a blue moon, I run into a non-profit board that has an annual performance evaluation process in place for their executive director. More often than not, I see boards doing everything in their power to NOT evaluate the CEO.

The following are a few interesting resources I dug up online pertaining to some of these trends:

While clicking around for these links, I came across another great document titled “Emerging Trends in Nonprofit Governance“. It looks like it was presented at the ASAE & The Center’s Annual Association Law Symposium in 2009. This document contains all sorts of best practices, and it is definitely worth the click.

I’m not sure if I would put any of these things under the classification of “trends“. I think most of the trends stuff that I’ve reviewed today can better be described as “best practices“.

So, let me go out on a limb this morning and identify what I see as a real trend in non-profit governance . . .

Serving on a non-profit board will
continue to be difficult and entail hard work!

Duh!   😉

I hope when non-profit bloggers revisit this post a decade from now they will be able to say, “That Erik Anderson really nailed that trend.”  LOL

When reviewing the initial list of “trends” that I shared at the beginning of this post, what questions and thoughts initially spring to mind? Has your agency made the “FROM-TO” transition on any of those trends? If so, which ones? Are you currently working on any of those changes in your non-profit governance? If so, which ones and what are you doing to facilitate the change?

Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts and experiences. We can all learn from each other.

Here’s to your health!

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