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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Learning About Nonprofit Governance - Emily

As I reflect on the last six weeks, I realize just how much I didn’t know about nonprofit board governance. My experience with boards of directors is slim. I feel after this class, though, that I could sit on any board and assess its effectiveness. I have learned about theories and best practice implications for board governance. I now know more about the different dynamics within and surrounding a board of directors for a nonprofit.

One area I now understand the more about are the functions of the board. I didn’t realize the board was responsible for so many aspect of an organizations success or demise. I, like most I’m sure, assumed boards were just a voting body that acts as an extension of the CEO. Boy was I wrong! The board has responsibilities that reach for beyond the CEO. The biggest being general oversight of the organization, but the roles included in this are far and wide.

I enjoyed dissecting the dynamics and motivations of board members. I feel the first step in understanding how they function, is understanding why they serve. I touched on this topic in my blogs and we discussed it a lot in class.

The best learning experience of this class was assessing the board of directors for a nonprofit. I chose the Conflict Resolution center in Roanoke Virginia. This was a great pick because I got to see the working relationship of a smaller board with the CEO. The organization also gave me experience in how a board is responsible for the turnaround of an organization in crisis.

One area I would like to know more about is how to get the research that is done on board governance into practice with nonprofit boards everywhere. Of course, JMU graduates of this program will take these resources with them, but how can current boards get access to this rich information? There seem to be good online resources but I wonder how much busy board members and CEOs use them. I think research into this alone would be helpful in understanding better ways to enhance board governance practices.

There are many aspects of nonprofit board governance to yet to be studied that can assist in the sector being optimally effective to their populations….more research needs to be done. J

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