Board Governance

Nonprofit boards exist to ensure a public trust and that their organization operates consistent with their mission – properly, effectively and with integrity. It is their job to actively oversee support of the many constituents served. With guidance from the organization's senior management, board members share the fundamental leadership responsibilities of:

  • Distinguishing the mission, vision and values of an organization
  • Defining programs and services
  • Setting policy
  • Developing and monitoring the strategic plan
  • Hiring and evaluating the executive director or chief executive officer of the organization
  • Overseeing operations without micromanaging
  • Monitoring budgets and financial status
  • Fostering community awareness and support, including serving as the chief fundraising body
  • Troubleshooting problems and ensuring adherence to best practices and ethical standards in the face of challenges to an organization

The regulatory spotlight once trained on corporations has broadened to include nonprofit entities and their boards of directors or trustees. Corporate and nonprofit scandals in recent years are responsible for heightening congressional interest and drawing the attention of regulatory agencies charged with oversight, bringing greater scrutiny to governance in both sectors.

In recent years, the IRS, Congress, and state attorneys general have taken action or threatened to take action against nonprofit board members who fail to demonstrate the minimum standards of accountability. Those actions may hit harder than most nonprofit board members realize. While nonprofit incorporation, directors and officers insurance, and the Volunteer Protection Act protect board members against most liabilities, exceptions exist that can put board members' personal assets at risk.

Everyone Wins

Board members certainly need to understand their responsibilities for oversight, but we believe nonprofits must take responsibility for educating, engaging, evaluating, and holding their members accountable to a well-defined model of board governance. The benefits of doing so extend far beyond risk prevention. Board members who volunteer their time and efforts deserve protection, but studies show that well-educated and engaged boards also create healthier, more effective organizations. Ensuring proper board governance is good for everyone the organization touches.

Our Approach

The governance model we designed places primary importance on helping the board fulfill its obligations of oversight and accountability, without becoming immersed in operational details. As needed, we assist the board in defining positions, board organization structure, committee responsibilities, and board operating guidelines. We delineate the role of the board in contrast to the role of management and define systems of mutual accountability. At the same time, we help boards establish methods that keep them operating collaboratively, focusing on external strategy, adapting to change, and achieving results that advance the organization's mission. In other words, we help board members work together to provide organizational oversight while ensuring that the organization's goals and objectives have been properly executed with exceptional transparency and integrity.

Learn More

To learn more about our approach to board governance, we encourage you to contact us. We look forward to discussing our services as they relate to your organization and to answering any questions.

Our Expertise

our expertise board governance

We've fine-tuned our processes over nearly 30 years, working with boards of various sizes and compositions. From our experience, we know that every board and organization is unique. As such, we work to create a model that leverages the strengths of the board to maximize the effectiveness of the organization and benefit those served.

Proven Results

Lester Consulting Group's training for our board created a level of enthusiasm that I have not seen in a long time. The final exercise was the icing on the cake. Board members were suddenly working together! Their training will have long-term benefits to our community. end quote

— Mike Stepanovich, Bakersfield College Foundation