Rebuilding a Board

Posted by on Mar 16, 2011 in ComLead, Managing Not-For-Profit Organizations

I don’t think a lot of people realize how pervasive non-profits are in societies. So many people encounter non-profit organizations without realizing it. Hospitals, universities, and museums can be examples of a 501(c)(3). The survival of these institutions during tough economic times depends on the functionality of the management.

In an interesting article by Mike Schroeder, he discusses how the traditional model of management no longer suffices. In the past, management has consisted of this rigid concept of an executive committee, the board chair, secretary, treasurers and chairs of committees. Schroeder suggests another approach.

Start with the mission of the organization and build from there. The foundation of an organization is the mission. Instead of the beginning with the “typical” structure of NPOs, construct an organizational structure that works for your mission.

Schroeder continues to explain that the Executive Director and the Board need to establish a strong working relationship. Once that has been worked on, core issues or objectives that need to be addressed in order to perpetuate the success of the organization must be established. Then an agenda can be set. Finally, committees- whether standing, ad hoc, or some other variation- can be established.

By making tough decisions about what issues take priority, concentrating the efforts of the board and the ED will allow for construction of timetables in which results should be met, measures of success and hopefully augment productivity.

It is important to acknowledge that a board of this nature could be considered an archetype that may not be attainable. Each non-profit is different and need to approach restructuring differently. The truth is that change is universally difficult. As the economy changes, new approaches to structure need to be considered in order to keep up with the changing trends in giving, donor relations and program coordination.

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