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Last updated October 3, 2014

No two Boards operate in exactly the same way; however there are several practices that are common amongst the most effective Non-Profit Boards. As you become comfortable in your role as Trustee, consider how many of these practices are carried out by your Board and work to implement any that are missing.

The most effective Non-Profit Boards:

  • Appoint new trustees based on both skill and passion. Completing a Skills Audit of Trustees is a good way to show what skills are lacking as a Board.
  • Have an induction programme for new Trustees so that they properly understand what is expected of them.
  • Have a code of conduct which all Trustees must adhere to both inside and outside the Board room.
  • Have a Term of Service for all Trustees so that the organisation is continuously exposed to fresh perspectives.
  • Stagger the replacement of Trustees to ensure some level of continuity on the Board.
  • Plan for replacements and ‘shoulder-tap’ potential Trustees ahead of time.
  • Invest financially in regular governance training to ensure all Trustees have the necessary knowledge and skills to do their job well.
  • Have a formal review process for evaluating their own performance.
  • Hold annual planning workshops to review, evaluate and refine their Strategic Plan and Funding Strategy.
  • Have Board meetings no more often than once per month, running for no more than 90 minutes each.
  • Review their Policy Manual on a rolling basis at every meeting.
  • Have at least 15 minutes at every Board meeting where the CEO is absent. This allows for any matters regarding the CEO to be discussed without conflict or prejudice.
  • Use Sub-Committees with Non-Trustees to help with specific aspects of the organisation.
  • Expect all Trustees to make a financial contribution to the organisation.

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