Nonprofits Need to Have an Excellent Board

Every nonprofit organization should start with an excellent board.

First, gather a group of individuals who share the same passion in the mission of the agency.  It does not make a difference whether the group feeds the hungry, shares investment strategies or produces plays.  Every single board member must believe in the importance of the mission.

Each board member must be committed to the mission.  At a minimum, that means attending board meetings.  Individuals who can not attend board meetings should not serve on boards. An individual who misses several consecutive meetings should be removed from the board.

Each board member should be required to make a financial contribution to the agency.  The size of the contribution may vary, but 100% board participation is required.

Every board should have a diverse membership.  Diversity might include age, gender, religion, income and race.

Every excellent board has a written plan.  At a minimum, it would include a description of the programs of the agency for the previous year and a list of potential programs for the next year. It would include a detailed listing of receipts and expenditures for the past year and a proposed budget for the next year.

Board meeting should be well-run. A proposed board meeting agenda should be sent to all board members before the meeting.  Individuals who have additional agenda items should notify the board chair before the meeting.

Board members who meet all the qualifications of board membership should be reelected for unlimited terms. Board members who do not meet the requirements for board membership should not be renominated.

(Michael Sand heads Sand Associates, a nationwide comprehensive management firm based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Send him a e-mail at

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