The Nonprofit Board Answer Book: A Practical Guide for Board Members and Chief Executives, 2nd Edition
July 2007, Jossey-Bass
At the end of each question-and-answer pairing you’ll find suggested action steps. These offer ways to put the information to a practical use on your own board and within your own nonprofit organization. Implementing some of these steps may lead to more questions as you become even more committed to fulfilling your responsibilities as a board member.
Remember: behind every good answer lies a good question. So keep asking those questions.”--from the Introduction
Introduction: The World of Nonprofits.
PART ONE: BASIC BOARD FUNCTIONS.
1. What are the basic responsibilities of a nonprofit board?
2. What are the attributes of a high-performing board?
3. What is the board’s role and involvement in mission, vision, and values?
4. When should an organization consider revising its mission statement?
5. What is the board’s role in strategic planning?
6. What is the board’s role in fundraising?
7. What are the legal duties of a board member?
8. What is the board’s role in financial management?
9. What is the board’s role in organizational evaluation?
10. How should the board connect and communicate with constituents?
11. How does a board function as a team?
12. How does the board avoid the extremes of "rubber stamping" and micromanaging?
PART TWO: BOARD STRUCTURE.
13. What is the best size for our board?
14. How should we structure our board?
15. What types of board committees should we have?
16. How can our committees be most effective?
17. Does our board need an executive committee?
18. Should our board have advisory councils?
19. What is the role of the board chair?
20. What is the ideal relationship between the board chair and the chief executive?
21. What board officers should we have?
22. How should we select our board officers?
PART THREE: SELECTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF BOARD MEMBERS.
23. How can we recruit active, involved board members?
24. What is the chief executive’s role in board recruitment?
25. How can a membership organization build an effective board?
26. How can our board become more diverse?
27. What does a prospective board member need to know?
28. What should we include in our board orientation?
29. Should members of the same family serve on the board?
30. Should constituents serve on the board?
31. What should we do about uninvolved board members?
32. Should we have term limits for board members?
33. How can we engage former board members and chief executives?
34. Should board members be compensated?
35. Should board members be evaluated periodically?
36. How can our board assess and improve its own performance?
PART FOUR: BOARD AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS.
37. Is a board legally required to hold open meetings?
38. How often and where should we meet?
39. How can we improve our meetings?
40. How is a retreat different from a board meeting?
41. Who should attend board meetings and what are their roles?
42. How should staff members participate in board and committee meetings?
43. What are the different ways boards make decisions?
44. What if a board member opposes a board decision?
45. How should board minutes be written, approved, and kept?
46. How can we use technology to improve board and committee meetings?
PART FIVE: THE BOARD’S ROLE AS A FIDUCIARY.
47. How does a board help ensure the organization’s long-term viability?
48. What does the board need to know about reserves and investments?
49. What is the board’s role in the budget?
50. What is the board’s role in the annual financial audit?
51. What should we do if the finances seem amiss?
52. What conflict-of-interest policies should we adopt?
53. How can we protect the organization-and ourselves-from lawsuits?
54. What is a Form 990?
55. Does every board member have to make a personal gift?
56. How can we generate revenue beyond fundraising?
57. How do we, as a nonprofit, operate a for-profit subsidiary?
58. What’s the best way to keep track of board policies?
PART SIX: BOARD-STAFF RELATIONS.
59. Why should a nonprofit organization designate a chief executive?
60. What is the board’s involvement in staff selection and management?
61. Should the chief executive have a vote on the board?
62. Should board members be hired as staff members?
63. How should we evaluate the chief executive?
64. How do we set fair compensation for the chief executive and the staff?
65. What is the chief executive’s role in improving the board?
66. What is the board’s role in relation to the staff?
67. How can the senior staff contribute to board effectiveness?
68. How can we facilitate the end of the chief executive’s employment?
69. What characteristics should we look for in a new chief executive?
70. How do we find a new chief executive?
PART SEVEN: ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE.
71. What is the typical lifecycle for a nonprofit organization?
72. How do we ensure that the organization thrives after the founders depart?
73. When should we enter into strategic alliances with other organizations?
74. When should we consider a merger or acquisition?
75. How can we expand the organization’s scope to the international level?
76. Should our charitable organization engage in lobbying?
77. How should we respond to an organizational emergency or controversy?
78. When should a nonprofit hire a consultant?
79. When should the board consider closing a nonprofit organization?
BoardSource, formerly the National Center for Nonprofit Boards, is the premier resource for practical information, tools, best practices, training, and leadership development for board members of nonprofit organizations worldwide. Through its highly acclaimed programs and services, BoardSource enables organizations to fulfill their missions by helping build strong and effective nonprofit boards.
“The authors strike just the right balance between theory and practice. The Answer Book is thorough, thoughtful, and comprehensive—while at the same time organized with busy readers in mind. The addition of 25 new chapters turns what was already an invaluable resource into a one-stop toolkit for addressing common board problems. If I could recommend only one book about governance, it would be this one.”--Richard L. Moyers, director, Nonprofit Sector Fund, Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
“This new edition is a must for those boards who take seriously the issue of appropriate and excellent board governance. It addresses particularly well the what, when, how, and who issues of boardsmanship and helps set the course for governing rather than administering or micromanaging.”--Ken Smitherman, president, Association of Christian Schools International
“Without exception, this should be required reading for both new and experienced board members and senior management. With 25 new chapters, I can’t imagine there is a question (or an answer) that isn’t addressed in this thorough, but practical, resource. Board meetings will be 25 percent shorter, thanks to this book.”--John Pearson, president, John Pearson Associates, Inc.