Nonprofit Board Committees

Board Committees

Oct 13

Nonprofit board committees are units of the board, which help maximize the overall effectiveness of the board. Many nonprofit organizations have different needs, and many organizations make the mistake of having a single committee to address every single objective. It’s best to organize a committee when issues are too complex to be handled by the entire board, or to help alleviate the board of some tasks.

I came across an article by Carter McNamara, in which he gives some advice on developing your nonprofit board committees, as well as potential standing committees/ad hoc committees.

  1. Ensure the committee has a specific charge or set of tasks to address, and ensure board members understand the committee’s charge
  2. Have at least two board members on each committee, preferably three
  3. Don’t have a member on more than two committees

Potential Standing Committees: Standing committees are permanent and exist year-round.

  • Board Development
  • Evaluation
  • Executive
  • Finance/Audit
  • Fundraising
    • Grant
  • Marketing
    • Promotions and Sales
    • Public Relations
  • Personnel
  • Product/Program Development

Potential Ad Hoc Committees: One-time/temporary committees with a limited duration. When a need arises these committees are formed, as soon as the task is completed they dissipate.

  • Audit
  • Decorating/Events
  • Campaign
  • Research

This is just an idea/suggestion of nonprofit board committees that exist. The idea of creating committees is ultimately up to the discretion of the board of directors. Committee formation should have a lot of thought put forth; if done improperly, complications and inefficiencies will arise.

  1. Consider who will be appointed to what committee
  2. Think about the size of the committee.
  3. Keep specific groups/members in the right committees to ensure proper collaboration.
  4. Effectively utilize all aspects of your committees.
  5. Make sure to have meeting agendas that are clear, concise, and on point.
  6. Clarify the roles and tasks of each team member in the committee to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.

There is a great article on how to “Utilize Communities Effectively”, that goes into depth on organizing a committee, the number of committees, and how to conduct committee meetings with effectiveness and efficiency. It’s a great article to read if you’re a startup nonprofit.



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