As the federal government looks at increasing regulation of the nonprofit sector, a new study says most charities already have boards that perform oversight functions for their organizations.
“Nonprofit Governance and Accountability,” conducted by the Nonprofit Listening Post Project of Johns Hopkins University, analyzes survey results from more than 600 U.S. charities.
Almost nine in 10 groups surveyed report their boards are highly or significantly involved in oversight functions, including setting the group’s mission, determining chief executives’ compensation and setting and reviewing budgets.
More than eight in 10 groups say their boards review auditing and accounting practices and sign off on important financial transactions, the study says.
More than nine in 10 of the nonprofits have undergone an independent audit within the last two years and share their financial reporting documents with their boards, the report says.
Virtually all groups surveyed say they have controls in place for accounting and finances, and more than eight in 10 have conflict-of-interest and travel expense policies, while almost three in four have codes of ethics for their staffs and board members.
Almost two in three nonprofits participate in at least one best-practice accreditation program, the study says, and four in five say their boards are at least somewhat knowledgeable about state and federal laws governing nonprofits.
“What this report shows is that the vast majority of nonprofit managers and governing boards take their fiscal responsibilities very seriously and have governance and accountability mechanisms in place that are far more up to the challenge than some recent accounts have suggested,” Lester Salamon, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins, said in a statement.