Nonprofit Governance Models

The main governing body of nonprofits that encourages accountability and transparency, the board of directors make the big decisions and determines the goals for an organization. A group of strategic and visionary leaders, the board deliberates on high-level matters and takes consensus-based decisions that are communicated through resolutions. They also delegate responsibility through committees that function in the same way as departments in for-profit corporations, like a finance committee planning committee, fundraising committee, and public relations committee.

Non-profit governance models don’t work for all organizations and that is the reason why many organizations my blog choose to adopt a hybrid model. No matter the model the board should prioritize its mission and ensure it remains separate from other private parties. The board should scrutinize any conflicts of interest that could undermine the credibility of the nonprofit or its reputation, or put donors at risk. This is accomplished by the use of a conflict-of-interest policy.

Nonprofits typically opt for the model of cooperative governance which grants every board member equal voting power and a shared level responsibility. This is a very democratic system, and can be successful when board members demonstrate their dedication to the mission of the organization. However it can be difficult when the board fails to keep its focus on its objectives, or if morale begins to decline. Patron governance is another popular model. It is a better fit for organizations that focus on fundraising campaigns. Patron board members are wealthy people who lend the nonprofit their name and utilize their connections in order to solicit funding.

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