Nonprofits need effective boards

By Todd Cohen

To be effective, nonprofits need effective boards.

Sadly, in picking their boards, many nonprofits look for big names or deep pockets when they should be looking for people with skills and connections in gear with the organization’s strategic needs.

As PJ reported in our recent Special Report, picking board members can be the most difficult and important job a nonprofit faces.

Nonprofits typically evolve from initial startup, through the formation and maturing of their management structures and programs, to a period when they need to change and renew themselves.

At each stage, a nonprofit has different needs requiring different kinds of board members.

Recruiting board members who can address the needs at each stage, while also anticipating future needs, can make the difference between a nonprofit’s success and failure.

And board members who understand and are engaged in helping a nonprofit deal with the organizational, operational and programmatic challenges it faces as it evolves are much more likely to understand its need for resources and do a better job helping to secure them.

If they are more strategic about picking their boards and putting them to work, nonprofits can build the culture of philanthropy they need to thrive.

Todd Cohen is the Editor and Publisher of the Philanthropy Journal.

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