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Unlike their for-profit counterparts, a nonprofit board lacks indicators, such as a bottom line and share value, that would give the board clear direction about its major tasks and demonstrate how best to organize itself to get these tasks accomplished. Armed with goodwill and dedicated to serving the best interests of an organization, boards either make it up as they go along, hoping that common sense and good intentions will see them through, or follow a set of prescriptions for good governance that fail to acknowledge what is unique about their particular organizations. Neither strategy succeeds in making a board the asset it could be and should be in the life of the organization.
Nonprofit Boards That Work shifts the focus, encouraging boards to look first at the particulars of the organization before determining the best approaches to effective governance. It asks a board to define its role and derive its value from understanding what is specific and unique about the organization and then to align itself and its work in ways that make it an asset in the organization?s life.
Nonprofit Boards That Work addresses issues of role definition, key responsibilities, working culture, structure, and leadership that boards must tackle if they are to play a meaningful part in helping a nonprofit to achieve success. Here is practical advice and effective yet flexible strategies that accommodate the many variables that shape a board?s real work?organizational size, stage of development, the varying levels of skill and commitment encompassed within the board, the talent of the executive director, the quality of leadership, and the limits of time. Throughout the book, boards are encouraged to shed irrelevant formulas and mobilize their goodwill and latent abilities to become boards that work.