from Harvard Business Review:
A Nonprofit Board or a Group of Dead Fish?
What some board members tell me, when pushed, is that they tolerate things on a nonprofit board that they wouldn’t stand for in their day jobs. The boards don’t ensure that the organization has a sound strategy, they tolerate mediocrity in management, they don’t hold the organization accountable for results, and they don’t ensure that resources are adequate to accomplish goals. The president of a very large community foundation went so far as to tell me that “the overwhelming majority of boards in this region are broken.” He was characterizing the governance of more than 7,000 nonprofits.
Why is this? Nonprofit organizations are tackling critically important issues … They have smart board members who care about these issues. People take time out of their busy lives – away from friends and family – to sit in on meetings. These volunteers obviously aren’t looking to fail in their roles as board members; even with the best of intentions, it just seems to happen.