Planning to Join the Board of a Nonprofit?

Planning to Be a part of the Board of a Nonprofit?


Congratulations! You have got been invited to affix the board of administrators of a nonprofit. You’re keen on the mission. You perceive the time dedication. However, there are a variety of different points to think about earlier than saying signing on.

No Margin No Mission.

Nonprofits distinguish themselves from for-profit corporations by specializing in mission. Mission is essential, however be equally delicate to the course of web belongings. Web belongings are the worth of the nonfinancial and monetary belongings owned, minus the worth of excellent monetary liabilities.

“No Margin No Mission” is a nonprofit cliché that appropriately summarizes why web belongings can’t be separated from mission. Institutional survival is doubtful if bills outrun revenue, even in organizations that decision themselves “nonprofit.”

The place Can I Get a Good Perspective about Web Belongings?

Ask the chief monetary officer of the nonprofit for the newest model of Kind 990. This kind is a federal authorized requirement. It offers an in-depth understanding of company monetary construction, authorized claims, and compensation paid to officers.

Give the CFO every week to reply. If the CFO just isn’t forthcoming, you may entry it at no cost. Go to An alternative choice is Tax-Exempt Group Search (TEOS) at

Take into account the CFO’s lack of well timed response to your request a helpful piece of details about the monetary standing of the group.

Don’t be happy by taking a look at the newest Kind 990. Go over the previous kinds for the final three to 4 years. Search for developments. Are you able to examine the developments within the group’s web belongings over the previous few years to these of different nonprofits of comparable dimension and mission in your geographical space?

Who Am I Talking For?

Cynthia Jarboe is a former associate with PWC, the place she led a regional nonprofit audit apply. She has labored with over 100 nonprofit firms. In her e book, A Information to Nonprofit Board Success (2020), she says, “You could be requested to serve since you signify a selected demographic. All of that’s good governance so long as you’re keen to imagine duty for that illustration.”

In different phrases, if one of many causes the board gives you a task is as a result of you’re a member of a sure demographic group core to the mission, you could put on two hats. Your skilled perspective is important however inadequate. You had been elected to signify a important constituency. While you converse, others suppose that you’re talking as a consultant of that constituency.

“Carrying My Hat”

You possibly can provide a number of and even conflicting opinions so long as you’re clear who you’re representing. For instance, you may say, “Carrying my hat as a senior government in human assets, I’d say X. Carrying my hat as a consultant of black girls in our group, I’d say Y.”

This angle additionally implies that you must stay in contact with the cohort you stand for. Don’t assume you recognize what’s finest for them.

Meet the Government Committee Members.

Previous to accepting a board position, it’s advisable to rearrange a sequence of one-on-one conferences with the members of the manager committee of the board of administrators. Nonprofit boards might be so giant that the manager committee turns into the important decision-making physique.

For those who meet the members and conclude that they don’t have anything to show you, you’re coming into a brand new relationship from a stance of vanity. For those who meet members of the manager committee and conclude that there are folks on the committee who may broaden your online business horizons and enlarge your skilled community, you then wish to be a part of this board.

One last thought: Some nonprofit boards require annual monetary contributions from board members. Make certain such issues are mentioned prior to creating a dedication.


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