Consulting Conversations

A Conversation with Consultant LaVern Yutzy- Effective, Competent Boards

Many non-profit organizations are encountering challenges and opportunities as they seek to carry out their mission and maintain a viable business plan.  In a rapidly changing environment, a high functioning board in partnership with competent management is essential.  An effective, competent board is a critical part of this equation. 

Boards can increase their governance capacity by paying attention to how they govern.  This is the task of a dedicated Governance Committee, which focuses on developing and strengthening governance practices that make a high functioning board possible. 

Perhaps the most basic responsibility of the Governance Committee is the cultivation and recruitment of new board members.  This is an ongoing process and entails the cultivation of relationships with persons who may be considered for future board assignments.  Boards who invest in building a pool of prospective board members may have a list of 40 or more potential board members to consider.  For further information about recruitment of board members click here. 

Additional tasks often assigned to a Governance Committee include:

  • Overseeing the annual Board self-assessment process and ensuring that a plan for strengthening the board is in place. 
  • Arranging for peer mentoring for new board members for the first two years of their board involvement.
  • Facilitating Board officer continuity.  This may include proactively recruiting new board members with board leadership abilities. 
  • Overseeing the process for orienting new Board members and redesigning the board orientation process as needed
  • Ensuring that a board member job description is available.
  • Monitoring trends and best practices in corporate governance and recommending changes as appropriate.

High functioning boards aren’t just possible, they are essential.  Competent boards are the result of intentional and ongoing efforts to strengthen governance practices.  Additional information about potential duties of a Governance Committee is available here.

LaVern Yutzy, Consulting Associate
MHS Consulting

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