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What Are the Best Tips for Nonprofit Governance?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2014
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A nonprofit organization exists for the good of others. Although these organizations are generally established with good intentions, some are ineffective and some are unsuccessful. One reason for this is because such an organization needs to be governed properly to operate optimally. Tips for good nonprofit governance include adhering to bylaws, promptly acting in the best interest of the organization, and utilizing professional services for specialized tasks.

Attempts at effective nonprofit governance should begin with a commitment to the organization’s bylaws. Nonprofit organizations that are incorporated should have corporate bylaws that outline how business will be conducted. This document should also contain the limitations of the organization. Maximum priority should be placed on adhering to this founding document.

If the corporate bylaws contain clauses that are outdated or ineffective, actions should be taken to amend the bylaws. It is not wise to simply leave such clauses in place while allowing a general habit of disregard for them. Changing of the bylaws should follow proper procedure and amendments should be carefully considered.

Nonprofit organizations tend to rely heavily on public and private support. This means the image of the organization is very important. To maintain a respectable image, the people who represent the organization should also be respectable. Good nonprofit governance is not likely if board members and officers are not subject to stringent standards.

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The best decisions for the organization should be made as promptly as possible. There are numerous benefits to incorporating and to getting a tax-exempt status, for example. Such options should be discussed with a professional adviser. When it is found that these are in the best interest of the organization, the proper steps should be taken to pursue them in a timely fashion.

Although financial resources may be an issue at times, a nonprofit organization should strive to utilize professional services for specialized tasks. This is especially true for legal and accounting tasks. If such tasks are full-time duties, hiring the appropriate staff may need to be considered. Organizations with good nonprofit governance will recognize the danger of allowing unqualified people to handle such tasks

Realizing that a nonprofit organization exists to act toward the benefit of some cause or need, it is important for an organization to have an effective communication structure. This is the only way to truly ensure that goals and targets are being met and that everyone within the organization is operating along the same lines. The holding of staff meetings is essential in this regard. Doing so provides a vehicle by which trends and problems that could otherwise go unnoticed may be identified.

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