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Nonprofit Board Best Practices

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An organization will be able to make better decisions, make decisions more quickly, and maximize the talents of its board members and staff if the board:

  • Has common understanding of the role of the board and of board members,
  • Establishes clear procedures for how the board is going to operate, and
  • Establishes a partnership with the ED/CEO, so that he or she can make the day-to-day decisions that need to be made if an organization is going to be effective.


[edit] Downloadable file:

[edit] Resources

  • Board Development- A program of United Way of Canada - Centraide Canada, this site offers an abundance of good practices in governance and includes checklists, forms, documents, and tools.
  • Boardnet USA- Boardnet USA connects people looking for board positions with organizations looking for board members. The site enables boards to reach people they normally wouldn't have connections to in order to strengthen their boards, and offers a way for people to find potential organizations on which to serve as board members.
  • Board Source The website provides solutions, leadership tips, and governance information about board-related issues such as accountability and transparency to increase board capacity. While membership is not free, certain articles and essential research data can be downloaded at no charge.
  • Board Cafe Board Café is a column for and about nonprofit boards. Short enough to read over a cup of coffee, the column appears regularly in Blue Avocado, the online magazine for people who work and volunteer in the nonprofit sector. New Board Café articles can be read on the Blue Avocado website or you can have the magazine delivered to you via email sign up for a free subscription at From 1997 to mid-2008, Board Café was a standalone publication of CompassPoint's. You can access past issues from this period in the Board Café Archives at this website.
  • Independent Sector Governance resources including a publication, "Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundations". Developed by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector, the Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice outline 33 principles of sound practice related to legal compliance and public disclosure, effective governance, financial oversight, and responsible fundraising. These principles, especially in conjunction with the Principles Workbook, help organizations assess and improve their operations. Organizations that have applied the Principles report increased capacity to achieve their missions, including improved governance, stronger organizational cultures and practices, and increased credibility with funders, individual donors and community partners.

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[edit] Author

The author of this page is 501 Commons

501 Commons is a nonprofit that assists nonprofits in the State of Washington. 501 Commons' mission is to boost the capacity of nonprofit organizations to thrive over the long term and effectively serve the community.

501 Commons was founded in 1989 as Executive Service Corps of Washington. In 2010, they changed their name to 501 Commons, reflecting a changing role and broader range of services. In 2012, they absorbed some of the programs and services of the Alliance for Nonprofits and the technology services of NPower Northwest.

501 Commons has a Tools & Best Practices section on their website.

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