Venable LLP’s webinar “Enhancing the Nonprofit Governance Model: Legal Pitfalls and Best Practices” recommends that board members be placed into the best possible position to do their jobs effectively. Here are some tips on doing that:

  • Provide a legal perspective when introducing new board members to board service. “This will help board members fulfill their duty of care, for example,” said Venable LLP attorney George E. Constantine.
  • Take care with meeting materials. Materials for board members should be provided well in advance of meetings, be clear and be tailored to the board’s needs. “This is particularly true in the financial realm,” Constantine said.
  • Be informative in the data you provide. Use tools such as graphs and dashboards when communicating to the board. “This lets the board focus on their oversight function,” Constantine said.
  • Conduct regular strategic planning and big-picture exercises. The executive director should ensure that these types of activities occur in a regular cycle, Constantine said.
  • Provide plenty of time for board discussion at meetings. The executive director needs to allow ample time for discussions of financial matters in the meeting agenda, Constantine said.
  • Seek out what the board wants for information. “We’ve had to change reporting formats in response to what the board desires,” said DC Central Kitchen Executive Director Michael F. Curtin Jr.
  • Don’t be “turfy.” Let the board do its job. The CEO cannot afford to behave as if it’s a highly unusual request if the board wants financial documents, said Venable LLP attorney Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum.