Cover image for Nonprofit boards that work : the end of one-size-fits-all governance
Nonprofit boards that work : the end of one-size-fits-all governance
Robinson, Maureen K.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : John Wiley, [2001]

Physical Description:
xii, 163 pages ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD2745 .R586 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Praise for Nonprofit Boards That Work

"This book offers a refreshing and candid look at the challenges of nonprofit boards. It moves away from theoretical frameworks to take you inside the real world of nonprofit organizations. . . . A must for any executive director who needs reassurance that building effective boards is tough work, but well worth the effort."-Sherry Rockey, Executive Director, International Women′s Media Foundation

"Maureen Robinson is uniquely qualified to help us understand the issues related to boards that are effective, those that are not, and why. It is certain that board members, potential board members, and executive directors who read this book will better understand their roles and responsibilities, and will be better able to avoid common pitfalls. As a result, the impact of their efforts on those whom their organizations exist to serve will be enhanced."-Ron Burkard, Executive Director, World Neighbors

As more than 10 million people in the United States alone say yes to board service, they also expect to see their time and talents used effectively. This invaluable book presents a straightforward approach to understanding the role of the board, tailoring its work to meet the needs of specific organizations, and creating a culture of board productivity that makes participation rewarding for board members as well as the organizations they serve. Nonprofit Boards That Work:
∗ Distinguishes between theory and practice and encourages boards to explore how they genuinely add value to the work of the organization
∗ Goes beyond the hows and whys of nonprofit governance to provide frank advice and real-world examples of what works, what doesn′t, what requires a miracle, and what can be achieved through diligent and deliberate effort
∗ Offers practical yet flexible strategies that can be tried by any nonprofit board, whatever its current effectiveness

. . . and much more to guide nonprofit organizations and their boards toward accomplishing the goals they seek.

Author Notes

Maureen K. Robinson is a consultant who specializes in nonprofit governance and management. She was the director of education at the National Center for Nonprofit Boards for eight years. Prior to joining the NCNB, she organized executive searches at the Smithsonian Institution and was director of legislative programs at the American Association of Museums. She writes and speaks extensively on the topic of nonprofit governance, both in the United States and abroad.

Table of Contents

About the Authorp. x
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1 Assigning Value: Do Boards Matter?p. 5
A Question of Valuep. 7
Trust and Transparencyp. 8
Representation and Diversityp. 10
Advocacy and Resourcesp. 11
Conclusionp. 12
Chapter 2 Why One Size Won't Fit Allp. 15
The Same But Differentp. 18
What Do We Want from a Board?p. 20
Simple versus Easyp. 22
Conclusionp. 25
Chapter 3 Defining the Role of the Boardp. 27
The Dimensions of the Board's Rolep. 29
The Legal Dimensionp. 30
Duty of Obediencep. 32
Duty of Carep. 33
Duty of Loyaltyp. 34
The Functional Dimensionp. 35
The Symbolic Dimensionp. 37
Animating the Work of the Boardp. 39
Chapter 4 Boards That Work: The Structure of the Workp. 41
Meetingsp. 44
The Rules of Engagementp. 45
Traps for the Unwaryp. 46
The Empty Vesselp. 47
How Good Meetings Go Badp. 48
Making Meetings Workp. 49
The Test of Importancep. 49
The Test of Scalep. 50
The Test of Consequencesp. 51
What Are We Doing?p. 52
Help for the Decision-Aversep. 52
Seize the Opportunityp. 54
Committees and Other Assignmentsp. 54
A Tool for Leadership Developmentp. 55
Make Them Meaningfulp. 56
Committees from Scratchp. 57
A Committee's Purposep. 58
Tasks and Timep. 59
Committee Leadership and Membershipp. 59
Advisory Bodies and Honorary Boardsp. 60
Conclusionp. 63
Chapter 5 Boards That Work: The Substance of the Workp. 65
Financial Oversight and Enlightened Curiosityp. 67
No Stupid Questionsp. 71
The Annual Budget Processp. 72
Good Financial Informationp. 75
Putting a Foundation in Placep. 76
Treasurers and Finance Committeesp. 78
Planning and Evaluationp. 81
Evaluationp. 86
Fund Raisingp. 89
Conclusionp. 93
Chapter 6 Building Productivity through Board Culturep. 95
Leading the Boardp. 98
Modeling Good Behaviorp. 100
Overruling the Unrulyp. 100
Gorgeous Monstersp. 103
Resolving Conflictp. 105
Conclusionp. 109
Chapter 7 A Working Partnership: The Executive Director and the Boardp. 111
Fully Value the Boardp. 113
Understand and Exercise Authorityp. 114
Build a Strong Relationship with the Chairp. 115
Cultivate Leadership among Board Membersp. 117
Participate in Board Recruitmentp. 117
Shape Board Orientationp. 118
Make the Most of Board Meetingsp. 119
Learn to Communicate with the Boardp. 120
Encourage Reflection and Learningp. 121
Conclusionp. 122
Chapter 8 Saying Yes Twice: Engaging the Individual Board Memberp. 123
What is the Job--Exactly?p. 124
Saying Yesp. 128
Make the Timep. 128
Become a Learnerp. 129
Respect the Staffp. 131
See the Big Picturep. 132
Have Couragep. 133
Keep Issues on the Table, Not under Itp. 134
Be Prepared to Leadp. 134
Say Thank You and Goodbyep. 135
Chapter 9 Fine-Tuning the Instrumentp. 137
Identifying New Membersp. 138
Orientationp. 146
Board Self-Assessmentp. 147
Conclusionp. 151
Chapter 10 Closing Thoughtsp. 153
Resourcesp. 155
Indexp. 161