Every Nonprofit Board is Unique

Nonprofit Boards change over time. And they should. As your organization changes, the governance needed to help ensure success requires a different level of commitment, as well as expertise and knowledge.

I’ll never forget the meeting when I got into a “fight” with my Board of Directors. I remember the room I was in, where I was sitting and who was there. I had finished reviewing my Executive Director update and the financials. I was ready for a healthy discussion about what we should consider doing differently or better. But the Board members sitting around the table nodded their heads in agreement and said, “You’re doing great. Keep up the good work.”

“No!” I abruptly replied. “I want you to challenge me. I need your help. I know that I don’t know everything. There are certainly opportunities where we can be more effective.”

They didn’t quite know how to respond to that. And that is when I realized that we needed to assess our Board. The organization had grown. We had incredibly committed and smart people sitting around the table. But now we needed a different skillset.

Each nonprofit is different. And each organization requires a different type of Board. This is why I embraced the SSIR article, “Challenging Conventional Wisdom on Nonprofit Boards.” There is no “one size fits all.” As your organization evolves, so will your Board. Make sure it works for what you need, not for what you’re “supposed” to have.

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