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WCG - Bd Reponsibilities 2 4-17-09

WCG - Bd Reponsibilities 2 4-17-09

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Published by Bill Taylor
Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards (Part 2)
Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards (Part 2)

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Published by: Bill Taylor on Dec 19, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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BASIC RESPONSIBILITIES OF NONPROFIT BOARDS (Part 2 of 5)Last column we started a series on the responsibilities of members of nonprofit boards and discussed the first two. Let’s cover three and four thisweek.
 The chief executive's success is linked to the board's determination to do itspart to sustain an effective relationship - one marked by mutual respect onboth sides and an understanding of the distinction between board andexecutive responsibilities that is determined, first and foremost, by opencommunication.Put another way; the ideal relationship is marked by continuing candor aboutexpectations rather than relying solely on the annual review to providefeedback. The board chair has an especially important responsibility, as doesthe chief executive, to provide the board with the bad news as well as thegood. Their respect for one another's different but complementaryresponsibilities affects how well the board itself functions. There can only be
one chief executive and one chair of the board; their respectiveresponsibilities should not be confused. The chief executive's and chair's shared responsibilities mostly center onworking together to ensure the board is functioning effectively. In the best of circumstances, they are seen by everyone as working very closely togetheron virtually everything related to the board's agendas, committeeassignments and activities, matters bearing on trustee candidate cultivationand recruitment, board retreat planning, and the like.QUESTIONS THE BOARD SHOULD ASK 1. What is our policy for assessing the chief executive's performance? Doesthe employment agreement call for such a practice? By what general processand timetable?2. Have we updated our policies and processes regarding performanceassessment and compensation to reflect what we've learned throughexperience?3. Who within the board is responsible for implementing board policyconcerning performance reviews and compensation practices (is it more thanthe board chair and other elected officers)?
 Through the planning process, the board and staff translate theorganization's mission into objectives and goals, which can then be used to
focus its resources and energy. These goals, which usually require newresources, also become the benchmarks for assessing the organization'sprogress over time.Although the chief executive is responsible for designing and conducting aprocess that provides, in effect, the organization's business plan, the chief executive and staff do not unilaterally determine the organization's strategicdirection. The board is responsible for actively participating in, andapproving decisions that set the organization's strategic direction. The board's responsibility in this area is to:
insist that comprehensive organizational planning occurs
participate in the strategic planning process
assess the merits of the planning process and its results
formally approve agreed-upon outcomes
use the goals as a guide for budgeting and other priorities
track the plan's implementation and the organization's progress,largely based on stated goals and objectivesMembers of governing boards - who are, after all, part-time volunteers -often ask, "Where and how do we participate meaningfully and appropriatelyin the process?" The short answer is that board members are at their best

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