Right of directors to share feelings outside board?

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?

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?

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

  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

  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…

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When COVID-19 cancels your meeting

  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

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

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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Avoiding action in Robert’s Rules

Guest post by Colette Collier Trohan on how NOT to do things by avoiding action in Robert’s Rules. Many thanks Colette for this useful summary! Have you ever been in a meeting and had the sinking feeling there was no good path forward? If the motion was adopted, perhaps it would inadvertently send the wrong…

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Executive committee cannot overturn board decision

A reader contacted us recently to ask whether the executive committee of his organization had the right to overturn a decision made by the full board. The answer is no, unless the bylaws give that right. Similarly, a board of directors may not overturn a decision made by the full membership. Robert’s Rules is very…

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