Technology now offers businesses and boards many advantages, including the ability to meet via teleconference, video conference, or even conduct discussion and voting via electronic communications, such as email. But while email is commonplace among many organizations for its ease of use, especially for busy and geographically diverse volunteers sitting on nonprofit boards, there are several reasons to think twice before using email for your next important nonprofit board vote.
The recent high-profile ouster of Southern Poverty Law Center CEO and Founder Morris Dees, and the resignation of Board Chair Richard Cohen, show how things can go awry when a board does not provide appropriate oversight.
The board collectively, and directors/trustees individually, owe fiduciary duties to the nonprofit organization they serve. In essence, exercising fiduciary duties means that board members have a duty to act with care and in the best interest of the organization and remain loyal to its mission, as opposed to acting in their own interest or the interest of the CEO/Executive Director they supervise.
A cornerstone of corporate law is that a member of a board of directors owes fiduciary duties to the corporation he or she serves. One of these fiduciary duties is the duty of loyalty which includes a duty of confidentiality.