[Owasp-board] How to be a great board member

Jim Manico jim.manico at owasp.org
Mon Nov 3 12:24:25 UTC 2014

I was doing a little light reading this evening and ran across this 
document which I thought was valuable.



While some people assert that nonprofits should be more “business-like,” 
good board members recognize that in many ways nonprofits are more 
similar to the government sector than the business sector, in that each 
involves public service for the common good. Consider:

*Board = Legislative branch*

The nonprofit board is like the legislative branch in that it:
1) sets the general direction and broad policies, but normally does not 
directly execute that policy
2) adopts the budget and ensures there are sufficient resources to meet 
the nonprofit’s needs

*Executive Director and Staff = Executive branch
1) The general rule is that “the directors oversee, but do not directly 
engage in the corporation’s day-to-day operations.” ABA Guidebook.
2) “Boards and board members perform best when they exercise their 
responsibilities primarily by asking good and timely questions rather 
than by ‘running’ programs or implementing their own policies. 
Board/staff relationships are what they should be when mutual 
expectationsare agreed upon and issues and responsibilities are clearly 
defined.” --Richard Ingram, in Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit 

*Donors & Volunteers = Judicial branch
Just as the judicial branch provides independent oversight to the other 
branches, donors and volunteers provide informal oversight of nonprofit 
organizations, because if a nonprofit is not doing its job correctly, 
donors and volunteers will “rule against” the nonprofit by stopping 
their support.
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