How Effective is your Board?


Adrianne DuMond

Author: Adrianne DuMond

Executive Coaches of Orange County

 As an Executive Director, do you sometimes ask yourself what is the purpose of the Board of Directors? Are they just for fundraising – or maybe just influential leaders in the community, or supporters of my mission? Am I utilizing their talents wisely? Does the Board feel valued and involved? As a Board member, do you ask how you could help more – be more involved?

 All of these questions have to do with the governance of an agency. When I was first introduced to the concept of governance, I asked — what does that mean – governance. When I did some research, and was serving on a gambling problems Board of Directors, I realized how important the concept is to having an effective agency.

 The Importance of Governance

For a Board of Directors, governance stands for oversight of the policies and practices that govern an agency. The Board of Directors shares a critical role in the delivery of those policies and practices. Governance includes actions like:

  • Review and approval of the organization’s mission and strategic direction;
  • Hiring, oversight, and annual performance evaluation of the chief executive;
  • Educating Board members on the organization’s legal and ethical responsibilities;
  • Evaluating their own performance (commitment, involvement) as a group and as individuals no less than every 3 years;
  • Review of organizational and governing instruments (e.g., By-laws, Personnel Policy manuals, Performance Review forms) no less frequently than every 5 years.

 There are many sources of information on line concerning these topics. I recommend the web site as a place to start as they specifically address non-profit organizations.

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