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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.

~March 2014~

Successful Committees=Successful Organization

cartoon figures around a table

SUCCESSFUL COMMITTEES=SUCCESSFUL ORGANIZATION

The research on successful nonprofit organizations over the years stresses the importance of well functioning committees.  Here are comments on the structure to build committees.

  • Well-Designed Standing Committees.  Divide governing work into ‘chewable chunks,” enable in-depth attention to governing work, build governing expertise and ownership, and facilitate board-staff interaction.
  • Two Key Roles of Standing Committees.  Work with CEO and executive team members in designing detailed governing functions of the committee:  answering content, format, and process questions.  Prepare for Board Meetings:  action recommendations and informal reports.
  • Keys to Effective Committees.  Organize by broad governing streams; cut across all organizational functions and activities (horizontal discipline); are not the ‘tip of the administrative iceberg’ or ‘program silo’ committees.
  • According to Doug Eadie, a model committee structure for a board of directors is to have Governance, Planning and Program Development, Performance Oversight, and External Relations committees.group around table
  • Executive (Governance) Committee.  Headed by board president; consists of other standing committee chairs and CEO; and serves as committee on board operations, not as a petite board.
  • Executive (Governance) Committee Functions.  Develops board agenda; coordinates standing committee work; handles board human resource development; monitors board performance; and negotiates CEO performance targets and evaluates CEO performance.
  • Committees Function Well When.  Every board member serves on 1 and only 1 committee (except committee chairs); committees are the only path to the full board agenda; they are led by strong chairs, and an paid staff person is assigned as chief staff to each committee.
  • Take Accountability for Governing Performance.  Make the executive (governance) committee accountable; set board member performance targets; regularly monitor board member performance; and take corrective action as appropriate.

Adapted from “Extraordinary Board Leadership:  The Seven Keys to High-Impact Governance” by Doug Eadie.


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