Ep 152: Secrets of a High-Functioning Board of Directors (with Joan Garry)

by Joan Garry

There is no way your nonprofit organization can thrive without one — but do you know what a high-functioning board of directors actually looks like? Tune in to this episode to crack the code.


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If I had a dime for every time I heard a nonprofit ED complain about their dysfunctional, disengaged board of directors…I’d probably have enough to buy a twin-engine jet!

Board bashing is pretty much an Olympic sport in the nonprofit sector these days. EDs are always complaining about board members who are asleep at the switch, micromanaging, or abusing their power. Some even complain that their boards have zero connection to the work.

But, it’s like I always say, the board you have is the board you build. So why then, don’t nonprofit leaders build boards that are high-functioning, engaged, and excited to serve?

Here’s my hypothesis: Most nonprofit leaders don’t actually know what a high-functioning board of directors even looks like.

Tune in to learn what I see as a high-functioning nonprofit board that will truly help your org thrive. And once I paint this picture for you, we will talk about the five crucial elements that you need to focus on to get the right people in the right seats on the bus — and why this all matters so much for your org’s mission.

Listen in to Uncover:

  • Why should you bother with building a high-functioning nonprofit board of directors? (2:15)
  • Who should serve on a board of directors? Are your board members recruiting with intention? (4:53)
  • Why are well-run board meetings so important? (6:00)
  • Why do nonprofits need clearly defined board of directors positions and roles? (7:25)
  • Is there a strong relationship between your nonprofit board members and staff? (8:50)
  • How do you get the right people on the right seats on the bus? (11:11)


Connect With Joan Garry

About Joan Garry:

Founder of the Nonprofit Leadership Lab, where we help smaller nonprofits thrive. I’m also a strategic advisor for executive directors and boards of larger nonprofits. I’m a frequent keynote speaker, a blogger, and an author on all thing’s leadership and management. (Learn more at JoanGarry.com)

I’m a woman with a mission to fuel the leadership of the nonprofit sector. My goal with each episode is to dig deep into an issue I know that nonprofit leaders are grappling with, by finding just the right person to offer you advice and insights.

Today is no exception.