Do you know if your board is a working board or a governing board? Although we use these terms all the time, this is a trick question! All boards are governing boards. Their first and foremost responsibility is managing the organization: making policy and strategy decisions, overseeing and monitoring organizational performance, and ensuring accountability. Volunteer-run or small-staffed organizations’ board members may also have working responsibilities in addition to governance responsibilities, such as program delivery. Because program delivery is often the most fun part of the job, it’s natural to want to focus your time and energy on direct service.
However, things get sticky when procedures, policies, and roles aren’t clearly defined. When board members disagree on the difference between the “must do” responsibilities and the “nice to do” activities, it can cause friction or result in compliance issues.
It may be time to review your activities and ensure that governance comes first if:
• your board meetings continually go off topic,
• committee updates take more than ten minutes of a board meeting, or
• your board spends more time discussing details than big picture items.
Spokes’ upcoming Board Academy provides the perfect opportunity to explore:
• Board Member roles and responsibilities
• Governance to achieve your mission
• Legal responsibilities of board service
Whether you’ve served on your board for one year or ten years, this training will give you new tools and knowledge to make your board function more effectively. Visit spokesfornonprofits.org/academy to sign up today!
Want to learn more about working versus governing boards? Compass Point has more to say on the subject here: https://www.compasspoint.org/board-cafe/working-board-vs-governing-board