nonprofit board directors

Significant Changes to Washington Nonprofit Corporation Law

By Ann Macfarlane / May 12, 2022 /
A circular badge with the text "High Priority" in bold red letters on a ribbon, surrounded by the same text in smaller black letters and stars, adheres to Washington Nonprofit Corporations Law standards.

Guest article by Matthew J. Schafer, PRP Many organizations are incorporated in Washington State under the Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act. (This article will refer to this law as “the Act”.) During the 2021 session, the legislature repealed the existing Act and replaced it with a new one. These are some of the most important changes…

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Newly elected? 6 key questions for success

By Ann Macfarlane / January 7, 2022 / Comments Off on Newly elected? 6 key questions for success
A green and white name tag with the words "HELLO I AM... NEW" written in bold black letters, perfect for a newly elected nonprofit board member.

Congratulations on being elected to your nonprofit board of directors! Here are six key questions as you prepare for your new gig, with answers below: What is my moral and legal “duty of care” as a nonprofit board director? Is it a good idea to “go along to get along” on a nonprofit board? What…

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Right of directors to share feelings outside board?

By Ann Macfarlane / October 29, 2021 /
A group of businessmen in a meeting room, with one person replaced by a dinosaur. Caption reads: "If anyone can get us out of our rut, it’s Ole Dinosaur here. Any questions about Robert's Rules?" Chart showing declining profits in background.

Dear Dinosaur: Board directors of our organization want to express their individuality and share their honest feelings with others outside of the board when they were not in agreement with the vote. When they do, those impacted by the vote feel hurt, disappointed, or pushed out. It seems that we are setting up a rift…

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Can married couples serve together on a nonprofit board?

By Ann Macfarlane / April 1, 2021 / Comments Off on Can married couples serve together on a nonprofit board?
Image of two intertwined gold wedding rings against a white background, symbolizing the unbreakable bond of a married couple.

A married couple, or other closely related persons, can serve together on a nonprofit board provided that no higher authority prevents it. However, you will want to think deeply before proceeding to do this. Here are some considerations to take into account. Does a higher authority prevent married couples from serving together? If you are…

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Should you have co-presidents for your nonprofit board?

By Ann Macfarlane / October 30, 2020 / Comments Off on Should you have co-presidents for your nonprofit board?
Illustration of a man and woman in business attire, both wearing navy blue suits. The co-presidents exude confidence; the man has a beard and glasses, holding a briefcase, while the woman smiles warmly with her hands relaxed at her sides.

Nonprofit organizations, like many voluntary groups in our country, struggle to locate and recruit adequate leadership. People are living such busy lives, with the demands of work, family, and personal well-being, that they find it a challenge to take on a leadership role. When there is a dearth of candidates to lead an organization—and often…

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Our worst selves

By Ann Macfarlane / May 15, 2020 /
Two elephants face each other with their tusks touching, appearing to engage in a playful or competitive interaction on a dirt path surrounded by greenery. In this wild yet serene moment, they remind us of our worst selves and the primal instincts within.

  When I served on the board of the American Translators Association, a fellow board member drove me crazy. His blithe assumption of superiority and his ego were insufferable. Of course, it is a truism of psychology that a strong emotional reaction like that is linked to unresolved inner issues. When I looked at the…

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Executive session in nonprofit board meetings

By Ann Macfarlane / April 7, 2020 / Comments Off on Executive session in nonprofit board meetings
A magnifying glass focusing on the word "privacy" in red, emphasizing the concept of privacy scrutiny or examination, much like the intense deliberation seen in an executive session.

Directors of nonprofit organizations accept substantial and serious responsibilities when they agree to serve on a governing board. In order to fulfill those responsibilities, it is important for them to understand the fundamental rules and principles that guide their meetings. We have found that there is much confusion about nonprofit boards holding meetings in executive…

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When COVID-19 cancels your meeting

By Ann Macfarlane / March 23, 2020 /
A large red button with the word "Emergency" written in white letters, reminiscent of the urgency felt when COVID-19-cancels-meeting notices disrupt our plans.

  Updated 5/11/2020   We’re having to adjust to a different world right now. In general, it’s always best to have an in-person meeting on matters of great importance. This provides the fullest opportunity to discuss, debate, consider alternatives, and come to agreement. When that’s impossible, you have to look at alternatives. This article lays out…

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Conflict of interest can be complicated

By Ann Macfarlane / February 14, 2020 / Comments Off on Conflict of interest can be complicated
A yellow road sign with icons of two cyclists and arrows pointing in opposite directions, indicating a two-way bike lane, helps avoid the conflict of interest between riders going different ways.

The basic principle underlying conflict of interest is easy to state but applying it in real-life cases can be complicated. In a nutshell, when you accept a position on a local government body or a nonprofit board, you are obliged to put the interests of the organization above your own personal interest, and you can’t…

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3 major pitfalls for nonprofit boards

By Ann Macfarlane / January 13, 2020 /
A blindfolded person in a suit walks towards a pitfall in the ground with a city skyline in the background.

In my experience there are three major pitfalls that can affect the ability of a nonprofit board of directors to fulfill its duty and serve its organization. Pitfall 1 – lack of immediate feedback In many cases, nonprofit boards are dealing with matters whose results will occur sometime in the future—next month, next year, or…

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