How to Ensure the Legality of Virtual Board Meetings

Today, many charities are unable or unwilling to hold board meetings or membership meetings in person due to the pandemic and social distancing requirements and are considering, perhaps for the first time, holding their meetings electronically. In between the complexity of mastering Zoom and figuring out the most flattering lighting, many may not realize that their organization’s articles or bylaws do not permit virtual meetings. 

Diversify Your Board

While nonprofits may have a much different endgame in mind than their corporate counterparts, they can glean many benefits by incorporating a more diverse cadre of community members on their board rosters.  The fresh perspectives and experiences that new and different members bring to the table result in organizations that are more nimble, effective, and ultimately better equipped to carry out their mission.

Strategies for Handling Difficult Board Members

Think back to the last time you had to (or at least wanted to) confront your boss about micromanaging your work. Now imagine having ten bosses instead of one. You’ve just stepped into the shoes of your nonprofit’s executive director. While we might all like to cast aside the possibility of an overreaching board member in our organizations, even the most well run nonprofit boards will deal with difficult board members at some point. Boards are full of, well, humans, who have a unique set of personal experiences, emotions, and motivations that influence on their job as a director. Sometimes, that can lead to conflict that is uncomfortable, unproductive, and even contrary to the organization’s best interests. 

Best Practices for Taking Board Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes need to record the proceedings in a way that is simple, unambiguous, and accurately reflects the wishes and actions of the Board. A simple rule of thumb is that minutes should contain enough detail to reflect the steps that the Board took and any critical discussions that took place. Well drafted minutes are essential evidence that the directors fulfilled their fiduciary duties. 

Can Your Nonprofit Board Vote by Email?

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. 

How Often Should Your Board Meet?

At a baseline, your board needs to meet with sufficient frequency to adequately carry out your basic fiduciary and governance duties.  This includes hiring the CEO and monitoring the CEO’s performance, creating a vision and direction for the nonprofit, setting goals and monitoring their progress, developing policies and procedures, ensuring sufficient financial resources, and generally safeguarding the organization and its mission.

Role of the Nonprofit Board 

For a nonprofit organization to succeed, it must have a high functioning Board. While management deals with the day to day operations (planning, organizing and executing the organization’s programs), the Board of Directors provides oversight over the organization’s management, finances, mission, and strategic goals.

Nonprofit Board Oversight

A nonprofit’s board of directors is legally responsible for exercising the care an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would exercise in overseeing the organization’s operations. This includes the organization’s finances and legal compliance.

How to Survive a Micro-Managing Board

The micro-managing board members show up to their first board meeting and before they have done anything of substance for the organization, they want to revamp the reports, review the nonprofit’s journal entries, question every expense, and critique the Chief Executive’s management style. One might rightly ask whether these activities are adding value. I would argue that nine times out of ten they are not.