How easy is it to sit on the board of a not for profit organization?

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“A good cause, a team of passionate volunteers, working hard to fulfill a demand without expecting financial compensations, and helping others when they need it most” is the main building block for an effective not-for-profit organization. Or is it?

An effective not-for-profit organization needs more than that. It needs discipline and accountability. It needs dynamics that ensures sustainability. It needs governance. But is it really necessary for a grassroots organization which needs to be agile and responsive to its clients’ complex requirements to be involved in the literature of the high street?

Yes, it sure is. A not-for-profit organization exists to serve its clients. It can do this only if its clients trust and respect it. It can only do this if its operating volunteers feel they are practically working for their favourite cause. And funding entities, they are not very keen about organizations without a conceptual structure and a set of rules that outlines how the organization is managed.

In a not-for-profit organization most of the board members are volunteers. Governance framework requires these board members to establish and monitor the long-term direction of the organization. Long-term direction means the organization’s strategic plan which includes its mission, vision, values and objectives.

Board members should make sure that the organization’s relationship with its different stakeholder groups is maintained as desired. They should constantly monitor the organization’s activities and make sure that these activities are in the scope defined by the mission statement. The board members should also see to it that the organization lives its set values.

In addition the board members must manage the risks facing the organization, meaning that they should promote risk awareness by identifying and addressing the risks. They should implement methods and procedures to mitigate the risks. The board members should do what is necessary for the organization to achieve its strategy. Not-for-profit organizations’ board members have lots of things to do

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