1 d’ag. 2017

Boards: when a nonprofit needs to make tough decisions, do you have the right brains in the room?

The 'Nine steps' publication and supporting material is the third edition published to help sport and not-for-profit organisations from New Zealand to improve governance structures and processes. Its supported by Sport New Zealand
Web access with support material to download: Nine steps to effective governance - building high-performing organisations
Here I would like to focus on Board Needs. My experience reveals the importance of having a knowledgeable and engaged board, a board that understands its fiduciary role, its managerial role and depending on the type of institution its fundraising role. Boards members should have:

EXPERTISE: knowledge, skills, and experience
The initial challenge is to determine what relevant knowledge, skills and experience the board needs. The degree to which particular sets of knowledge, skills and experience might be required will depend on the business of the organisation, the challenges facing it and its specific current and prospective circumstances.
  • It is preferable that all candidates will have some degree of governance experience and a basic understanding of board work.
  • It is important for a board to include people who can understand: 1) an organisation's culture and what motivates the behaviour of those within it; 2) the economic drivers of its performance; 3) where its best growth opportunities lie; and the risks that it faces.
  • Focus on what people will DO rather than what people ARE
  • Emphasize diversity and demographic characteristics like gender, sexual identity, disability, age and geographical variables like nationality or location of residence..
A second important selection factor is the set of attributes that relates to a person's ability to contribute and collaborate in a group decision-making context. Without personal attributes that assist an individual's knowledge, skills and experience to be taken up by the board, he or she is unlikely to add value as a member of the board.
  • Independence - free to think for themselves
  • Intelligence - ability to understand and be critically analytical
  • Moral compass and integrity
  • Good judgement and personal confidence -ability and courage to raise difficult issues
  • Emotional intelligence - manage their egos, respect and be able to understand the needs and feelings of others
  • Open mindedness and ability to challenge their decisions
  • Outcome-oriented - more interested in impact than in process
  • Motivation - they want to join the board for the right reasons 
photo: (*) Photosolde