GuideStar Blog

Four Things Your Nonprofit’s Board of Directors Should Do to Start Out the New Year by Embracing Best Practices

It never fails. As soon as the iconic glittery New Year’s ball makes its descent in Times Square and the calendar turns to January nonprofit boards review their list of goals for the new year and begin to tackle tasks like updating woefully out-of-date bylaws and tightening up conflict of interest policies. Boards look at ways that they can ensure legal requirements are followed by their organization and that their next audit will come back squeaky clean. But there is more to running an ethical, accountable, and transparent nonprofit than just legal and accounting requirements. Boards of directors can set the tone for the organization by conducting regular reviews of core governing and operating policies and procedures.


Your Engine of Impact: Board Governance

Governance is a crucial component of any nonprofit’s success. It’s also one of the hardest aspects of nonprofit leadership to get right. We have observed this truth firsthand over many years of conducting due diligence on a wide range of nonprofits, first for the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership and now at King Philanthropies. And research buttresses this observation: In a survey of nonprofit chief executives and board chairs conducted in 2015 for the BoardSource report “Leading with Intent,” respondents on average gave nonprofit boards a grade of B-minus in overall performance. Indeed, many people in the nonprofit sector simply assume that ineffective boards are par for the course. This sort of negative thinking all too easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy—one that we firmly reject.