There are some key questions to ask before accepting or offering nomination to the governing body of a nonprofit organisation – and this checklist is a start.
These questions relate to ten basic strategies which, if introduced and operating effectively, could improve your chances of becoming an effective Board or Committee member within a short space of time.
When speaking to a Board Member or the Senior Staff Person about potential Board membership, ask (in your own words) for evidence that these ten basic strategies are alive and well at Board-level:
- acceptance of the fact that the organisation is in the business of providing programs or services for a specific client or member base, or to address specific needs,
- acceptance of the fact that the organisation’s survival depends upon financial viability and operational effectiveness,
- a pro-active approach to the nature and predictability of risk,
- a consistent and effective internal decision-making procedure,
- an effective working relationship between the Board and CEO/senior staff position,
- a clear statement of delegation of authority to the CEO or senior paid staff member regarding management of the affairs and activities of the organisation,
- development of strategic and business plans based on a factual analysis of financial and operational obligations, opportunities and challenges… with realistic and achievable budget estimates and cashflow projections as a basis for a set of agreed financial and operational performance indicators,
- effective networking at Board or Committee – as well as CEO – levels,
- internal recognition of staff and volunteer achievement and effort - taking time to celebrate achievement and effort, and
- a long-term succession strategy in place for Board or Committee office-bearers, members, CEO and key staff.