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OD180 takes an approach to board development that recognizes two realities. First, every board must fulfill certain obligations as the body of trustees/directors entrusted with an organization’s oversight. At the same time, a board acts within the unique context of an organization’s culture, history, current reputation, looming challenges, and long-term aspirations. Consequently, the approach typically involves some degree of training on best practice standards in governance, together with some assistance identifying the leadership needs of the organization.

Questions…

Comprehensive board development seeks to address several important questions. Some are fundamental to who the group is and how it is constituted; others are more practical. Among the questions that an OD180 consultation addresses are: Who needs to be in the board room? What do they need to know in order to do their work well? What is the optimal structure for your board (with respect to officers and committees)? How often should a board meet and what should be on the agenda?

…and Answers

With these questions in mind, board development projects typically consist of three parts. A training session helps all board members gain a common understanding of their roles and responsibilities, both collective and individual. An analysis of the organization’s leadership needs results in a strategic composite board profile and accompanying recruitment plan. And observation of a board meeting, together with a review of pertinent documents and officer interviews, leads to a custom set of recommendations about board operations, ranging from new member orientation to maintaining relationships with former board members following their terms of service.

A Critically Important Concern

Nonprofits simply do not sustain themselves in the long run without good governance. Effective trusteeship is just as critical as effective management. Yet too often, board development is reduced to an annual retreat and the occasional talk from an outside speaker. Taking a comprehensive approach is not quick or even easy but it is far more likely to build the strength that your organization really needs in order to thrive.