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They are volunteers, too!
Look here for information and the latest techniques to develop your board or committee. The purpose is to help those who work or serve on nonprofit boards of directors or committees.

~ June 2005 ~ Topics

Is There a Right Board Model for My Organization? The Traditional Board

Last month we discussed what some people call the "working board," usually the board of an all-volunteer or sparsely staffed organization.

This month, lets look at what I will call the traditional board. This is the most frequent board model.

This board has some staff, and board members serve on at least one committee. The board delegates work to the Executive Director (ED). The ED makes recommendations to the board on policy and manages the staff. The size of the organization, the size of its staff and the size of its vision will determine the amount of hands-on work the board is required to do.

Strengths: The board and staff are partners in fulfilling the mission of the organization in a flexible management fashion appropriate to its size, mission and strategic plan.

Weaknesses: There can be a confusion of roles and responsibilities. The board may have difficulties avoiding two negatives: either rubber stamping the ED's recommendations or, on the other hand, trying to micro-manage the staff. It may focus too much on means and not enough on ends.

Traditional Boards, like all boards, must: focus on ends (their mission and strategic goals), honor the legal requirements for boards, such as providing a system of monitoring and evaluation of operations, making sure business is being conducted in a manner in keeping with all state and federal laws and avoiding conflicts of interest. They must be active, attend meetings, demand program outcome evaluation, help with succession planning and be involved in advocacy on behalf of the organization.

Other good sources for information on nonprofits, boards and committees:

Jeanne Bradner can be reached at Jeannebrad@aol.com.

See our online bookstore for Jeanne Bradner's book on boards: The Board Member’s Guide: A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today, and Passionate Volunteerism.
Board Member's Guide Image Leading Volunteers Book Image Passionate Volunteerism Book link to bookstore

Jeanne H. Bradner

Jeanne H. Bradner is an author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership. She is the author of three publications, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today and Passionate Volunteerism. She served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management curriculum.

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