10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Board

The close of one year and start of a new year is a great time for reflection and resolution. Here is a list of 10 resolutions for your nonprofit board of directors to consider:

  1. We will review the stated purpose statements in our articles of incorporation and bylaws to make sure they are consistent with our publicized mission statements.
  2. We will have our bylaws reviewed by a lawyer if they have not been legally reviewed in the past five years.
  3. We will meet as often as necessary to provide strong oversight of the organization and to meet our obligations as directors.
  4. We will each commit to attending a majority of the meetings or accept another, more appropriate role with the organization.
  5. We will require our executive to provide us with relevant information (including financials) at least five days prior to any meeting so we can review them in advance and make our meetings more productive.
  6. We will seek ways to improve how we further our mission and not just allow things to run the way they’ve always run.
  7. We will identify, incorporate, and hold ourselves accountable to advancing our mission consistent with our organization’s values, and, if promoting diversity is one of our goals, we’ll dig deeper and ensure we are addressing issues of inclusion and equity and appropriately shifting power to address those issues.
  8. We will consider how to effectively collaborate, advocate and lobby (yes, we can!) to better serve our intended beneficiaries; then, we’ll implement our ideas and openly share our results (even if they don’t pan out).
  9. We will adopt or affirm a conflict of interest policy, and hold ourselves accountable to complying withe the policy, to help ensure that we are always acting in the best interests of the organization.
  10. We will adopt other governance-related policies (like those for whistleblowers, document retention and destruction, gift acceptance, signing authority, financial management, investments, expense reimbursements, review of the Form 990) to help us do our jobs better.

See our follow-up post 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Nonprofits

3 thoughts on “10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Board

  1. Thanks, Rachel, for the encouragement! And thanks, John, for the additional resolutions. I think many of us will recognize such problems as they apply to some of our colleagues and even ourselves. We can expect better, but we need to be tactful in setting forth proposed resolutions for the Board.

  2. John Ambrose

    Ten Other Board Member Resolutions
    1. I shall not call and be an apology 5 minutes before the meeting starts.
    2. I shall not come to the meeting and say that I didn’t receive any of the Board papers.
    3. I shall not come to the meeting and say I didn’t have the time to read the Board papers even though I received them 3 weeks prior.
    4. I shall not come to the Board meeting and say I don’t bring the Board papers with me and could I have a full set photocopied for me now, please?
    5. I shall not attend the Board meeting with the sole purpose of finding fault and criticising the paid staff.
    6. I shall not come to the Board meeting with the sole purpose of criticising my fellow Board members.
    7. I shall not speak simply for the purpose of being heard.
    8. I shall not expect any special favours for me or my organisation simply by being on the Board.
    9. I shall not be part of the willing majority who willingly let the willing minority do the job and then claim credit for their work.
    10. And, lastly, I shall not pretend to be on a Board so that it looks good on my c.v. and actually BE the Board member that the organisation deserves.

  3. I LOVE these resolutions. I look forward to sharing them with our readers. Thank you for the clear and concise reminder!

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