Best Practices for Nonprofit Boards of Directors

Nonprofit volunteers

The phrase ‘no good deed goes unpunished’ can ring true for boards of directors of nonprofit organizations.

Financially, they’re already behind the eight-ball. This hurdle makes the challenges faced by board members stifling – primarily if these organizations don’t have the right systems in place.

Without profits, a strategy maximizing every resource to its fullest is imperative to the survival and success of a non-profit.

Furthermore, in many cases, board members of nonprofits come from all walks of life. Meaning, these boards possess well-rounded perspectives that need to be reined in with carefully crafted practices and procedures.

Read below, for a list of tips that’ll streamline workflow and optimize overall efficiency for nonprofit boards of directors. 

Establish Clear Board Expectations

With nonprofits, first and foremost, the chances are that most board members are doing so on a volunteer basis. Therefore, efforts must be made to accommodate schedules and make meetings as accessible as possible.

There’s also a chance that many directors lack experience.

These individuals are more likely to grow into their role if they’re given clear expectations of what goes into being on the board. For instance, board members of nonprofits are generally expected to be integral donors and fundraisers.

Drafting out policies of these expectations will make all ground rules official. Plus, it’ll provide members with reliable information that they can cross-reference at their own convenience.

Staying Financially Lean AND Creatively Mean

There’s no avoiding the fiscal challenges of being a nonprofit. Unfortunately, many organizations let this eat away at them until they plainly give up on impacting change.

No matter the budgetary issues, boards of directors of nonprofits must never lose sight of their mission and vision. The mentality should always be to think of new ideas first and worry about the money later.

Boards shouldn’t say ‘no,’ if an exciting idea seems financially unobtainable. Instead, conjure up ways it could be executed within the confines of a nonprofit budget.

Think Big Picture

Unfortunately, there are no avoiding moments of tremendous adversity as a nonprofit board member. It’s the nature of the industry.

No matter how scary things get, it’s critical not to get muddled in small details. Also, avoid becoming too tactical and sterile just to stay afloat.

At the end of the day, nonprofits are working towards something of incredible significance. Those involved need to focus on the grand scheme and remain mission-focused to push through the hard times. 

Losing sight of the mission as a board of directors is a genuine possibility without implementing practices that keep it at the forefront.

Be Prepared for Change

Turnover in the board should be expected. Since these positions are regularly unpaid, some board members’ professional circumstances may disrupt their availability.

Much of the time, internal successors aren’t readily available. As such, nonprofit boards should continually work towards being prepared for and even embracing leadership transitions. Changes should be seen as a form of growth instead of a crushing loss. 

With these tips, nonprofits will have the insight needed to keep their vision alive and help change the world for the better.