Our Blog RSS

The latest news and occasional commentary about what’s happening at the Foundation and around our great state. 

Rhode Island Foundation Blog

rss

We are proud to be part of the Rhode Island community! Follow our blog for the latest news and occasional commentary about what’s happening at the Foundation and around our great state.


Are you getting the board members you need?
By Jill Pfitzenmayer / April 23, 2014 /   Loading Disqus...
I talk with lots of nonprofit executives and board members about the composition of their governing body. There are some who feel that the “ideal” board member is a retiree with lots of disposable income and strong connections to wealthy folks in the state. There are many board members who fit that profile and who bring passion, talent and treasure to their role. But are you shortchanging your organization because you’re thinking too narrowly about board membership?

We strongly advise nonprofit boards to think strategically about their board members and the skills needed to effectively govern the organization. 
 
  • Is there a broad skill set on the board, or is the board tipped in the direction of a single profession (e.g., lots of lawyers)? 
  • Do board members have sufficient time to devote to the work, or are members stretched too thin by serving on multiple nonprofit boards? 
  • Are there enforced term limits so that tenured board members can rotate off and new members can rotate on? Or do current board members think it’s ok to serve a lifetime on one board?

Sometimes nonprofit boards create structures that unnecessarily impede new members from joining. For instance, meetings may be held during business hours only so that those with limited ability to leave children or work may not be able to participate. Some organizations have a “give or get” policy that may restrict potential board members from more modest means. There are lots of individuals eager to give back to the sector through board service, but have no idea how to meet current board members.

Serving on a nonprofit board is a big responsibility: it requires critical thinking skills, passion for the work and a willingness to participate in fund development at many levels. Not everyone is cut out for this work and I am concerned that some nonprofit boards are reluctant to replace board members because it is challenging to find new faces. In fact, if a board consciously decides to “up its game” and ask more from their members, I honestly believe that strong board members will step up and those who are only loosely connected to the organization can step down. This is a healthy approach to revitalizing board leadership and all Rhode Island nonprofits deserve strong, robust governing bodies.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Featured Post

  • Rhode Island Foundation announces six recipients of college scholarships in the name of Roger Williams Posted last month
    The four-year, renewable scholarships are through the Carter Roger Williams Initiative, which was launched two years ago by philanthropists Letitia and late John Carter.
  • Rhode Island Foundation awards $285,000 to Newport County nonprofits Posted last month
    The grants, through our Newport County Fund, will underwrite a host of activities ranging from workforce training and after-school activities to preventing relationship violence and protecting vulnerable seniors.
  • $2.6 million awarded for behavioral health care Posted last month
    Six nonprofit organizations will use $2.6 million in grants to support primary and secondary prevention models and high-quality, affordable behavioral health care services across the state. The funding is the first from the Behavioral Health Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.
  • Vision and commitment Posted last month
    Hundreds of community and business leaders, donors, grant recipients, and other partners gathered at the Rhode Island Convention Center on May 16 for our 2019 Annual Meeting. Here are highlights of what our President and CEO Neil D. Steinberg told them.
  • Rose Fund grants stimulate civic and cultural dialogue Posted 2 months ago
    The primary goals are to strengthen libraries and other civic, cultural and literacy-focused organizations and expand their role as community centers that stimulate dialogue around critical issues.
Read More »

Address

LocationOne Union Station
Providence, RI 02903
Directions

Contact

(401) 274-4564
info@rifoundation.org

E-News Sign Up