The recent condo tragedy in Florida is a stark reminder that volunteer boards have real and important responsibilities. This terrible situation is a timely reminder to take a look at your Board and make sure you have everything in place for your Directors.
Most Board members serve out of passion and connection. Yet, when problems emerge, why do so many seem to be asleep at the switch? One answer may be that we take intelligent, hard-working people and then give them no resources or training on how to do their job well. Here are some great resources for you from experts, who are themselves nonprofits, on training your Board.
Canada Revenue Agency maintains a set of of free resources that will help directors, officers and volunteers understand the requirements and obligations of maintaining charitable status. They even have a great series of YouTube videos.
Altruvest provides coaching for charity Boards and staff on governance. Through their BoardSource Director matching program, they also work to expand the talent pool and enhances the governance skills of charitable sector boards by introducing and training new volunteers from the corporate sector to charitable board service; provide senior and emerging charitable leaders with board governance and leadership training; and act as a public advocate for good governance.
American-based, BoardSource offers great tools for leadership and has an extensive number of online, certificate classes available.
The Imagine Canada Standards Program is not a Director's education program. However, by undertaking the rigorous process of becoming accredited, charities will become capable in nonprofit governance.
The national Institute of Corporate Directors Not-for-Profit program is an in-person program that focuses on key accountabilities and responsibilities for NFP leaders through extensive use of team-based learning to ensure participants learn from both faculty and their peers.There is a scholarship fund available to underwrite the program cost.
Sounds great but not quite ready to fully commit? Consider starting by training your Board Chair and Executive Director first and then gradually, over time, bring on the rest of your Board and staff.
Hilborn editor Ann Rosenfield is on the Board for Rainbow Railroad and serves as a senior staff member for a Toronto-based charity. She is a graduate of the ICD NFP program and volunteered with Imagine Canada for over 10 years.