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BOARDS AND COMMITTEES

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.

~September 2008~


Advisory Board Guidelines


         Advisory groups—board or committee are not the same as a governing board.  There is a limit to their power, they are usually appointed by a legal (often governmental) entity, and sometimes the positions are dictated by policies or statute.  This does not mean they are a burden to be born by the manager of volunteers, but never really used.
         Advisory groups can be powerful in such things as influence, connections, and oversight.  The best and most effective advisory groups often have a set of guidelines to outline their role.  The outline is approved by management and shared with new members.  Here is a worksheet for you to complete.  If you have an advisory group, but no guidelines, this is a chance to write them.  If you have guidelines this is a chance to review them.

  • Name of Advisory Group: The name should reflect the organizational mission and the purpose for the group.  Homeless Shelter Advisory Council
  • Number of people and the constituencies they represent:  Who are the stakeholders around the issue your organization addresses?  Are those stakeholders represented as members on the advisory group? Are there enough active members to have good discussions of issues and representation of all sides?  Ideal size for an advisory group is between 6 – 12.  Sub-committees or ad hoc committees can enlarge the potential workforce.
  • How are they appointed?  Who appoints the members?  Is there an opportunity for the existing group to nominate or suggest people to serve on the Advisory Committee?  Is there a balance—men/women/; age cohorts; race/ethnicity; points of view?  Is there a time limit for service? (Yes, there should be?)
  • List 1-3 issues or situations an advisory group could have addressed in the last year that would have aided the decision making process

        Answers to these questions can help you evaluate the clarity of role and responsibility for the recruitment and appointment of advisory group members.  It can serve as a foundation to develop written guidelines to describe how the advisory group is appointed, its term of office, and the role it plays in organizational decision-making.

 

 

 


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