How to Effectively Deal With Board Members

Taking action and knowing how to effectively manage a board of directors can improve your organization.
Taking action and knowing how to effectively manage a board of directors can improve your organization. (Image: Erik Snyder/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The goal for a board of directors focuses on ensuring the stability of your organization. The nonprofit board should provide effective leadership for the organization. You need to maintain specific requirements and standards for the participation of the board. When an organization demonstrates dysfunction, it may result from a dysfunctional board of directors. Taking action and knowing how to effectively manage a board of directors can improve your organization.

Effectively Dealing with Board Members

Create a checklist for your board of directors to focus on regular meetings, attendance and participation, maintaining education regarding current issues, participation in the organization, fundraising, regular training, and recruiting for programs and other needs of the board of directors.

Make a calendar of board meetings and take attendance at each one. If a board member does not attend the meetings on a regular basis, it may prove time to re-evaluate his role within your organization. You should have a policy that establishes requirements for meeting attendance. Run meetings effectively and take note of how the board members interact and participate. For instance, if two board members have a side conversation during a meeting, you may need to speak with them personally and discuss what needs to happen during a board meeting in order for the organization to remain effective.

Outline specific requirements for each member of the board. For instance, if you have an accountant, they may help with annual taxes. Sit down and make a list with each board member to discuss their personal commitments to the organization.

Identify how they will assist in fundraising efforts, whether through personal financial contributions or through connections with foundations or businesses. Maintain an understanding of each board member to ensure that they will not compromise the organization’s tax-exempt status by falsifying documentation. Establish clear guidelines for how the board can raise money.

Have each board member sign a conflict of interest statement to fend off any attempts to take over the organization for personal gain. The National Council of Nonprofits has a sample conflict of interest policy available on their website.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a difficult time managing you board, you can ask a board consultant to attend board of directors meetings to help your meetings become more focused and efficient.
  • If you suspect a board member of demonstrating poor behavior, do not hesitate to speak with her or put her on probation. Protecting your organization is of the utmost importance.

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