Regardless of the sector, maturity, or staff sophistication of the nonprofit organization, these four board committees are essential to the health of the organization and well-being of the board itself. Share this article with your board today and discuss how these four nonprofit board committees can help you do a better job providing oversight and support for your nonprofit. If your board lacks the expertise to support the activities outlined below, decide which board skills are needed, and start recruiting board members with these skills now.
Board Development Committee – This committee preserves the quality of your board’s future because it is responsible for determining what skills are required on the board, and for recruiting and orienting all new board members. While many boards have one-time orientation sessions, better boards continuously exposure their members to the work of the organization and the quality board governance they are trying to achieve. Along with the Board President, members of this committee communicate with your board members to ensure that they are making a productive contribution and they are satisfied with their board experience. The design, administration, and interpretation of your annual board self-evaluations is done by the Board Development Committee.
Finance Committee – The finance committee is often the most highly-functioning of all board committees. This committee supports the development of the annual expense budget, tracks the actual spending vs. budget, watches monthly cash flow, and interprets the overall financial health of the organization on behalf of the board. This committee supports the development of the longer-term strategic plan as well as next year’s annual plan. All of the financial policies of your organization should be reviewed by the finance committee prior to board approval. The Audit and Investment Subcommittees help round out the board’s involvement in the financial affairs of the organization.
Fundraising Committee – While the Executive Director is responsible for the organization’s fundraising, well-run organizations engage the support of the board in various part of their fundraising plan. This committee oversees the development of the Annual Fundraising Plan – and tracks the planned vs. actual results during the year. They encourage, train, and thank other board members for their involvement in the fundraising activities. They explore potential, new fundraising activities as part of the strategic planning process. Special Events Subcommittees can be established as part of this committee when appropriate.
Personnel Committee – Contrary to popular thinking, even small, young nonprofit organization need personnel (or human resource) expertise on their boards. Even if there is only one part-time employee working for your nonprofit, this committee helps make sure that all state and federal laws and regulations that affect employment are followed. This committee ensures that the wages you are paying are comparable to wages in other, similar organizations – and that each employee has a current job description, documented annual objectives, and yearly follow-up reviews that include training and career path planning. Employee Handbooks, Human Resource Policies, Staff Planning, Benefits Selection, Pension Considerations, and Vacation/Holiday Schedules for full-time and part-time employees are all within the responsibility of this committee.
Get the ball rolling by sharing this article with your fellow board members and your Executive Director. If your board does not have a well-developed committee structure, start by assigning some board members to these committees now. If your board has committees but they’re not particularly effective, re-invigorate these four committees first. They are by far the most important to the effectiveness of your board and the success of your nonprofit.