From the day I got accepted to Atlas Corps Fellowship program, Class 13; it rang in my mind that time has come for me to learn new things in the Nonprofit sector in the United States of America, in comparison to the same in my nascent Country, South Sudan. I committed myself to learn new lessons and take them back home to make a difference in the lives of the people of South Sudan, and to bring about big change in the communities across the country and the world.
I attended the Lost Boys Center for Leadership (LBCLD)’s Board of Directors meeting on Thursday September 19th, 2013, in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona. It was my first board meeting with the Host Organization. I learned a lot about the direction by which the organization is pursuing their programs and their future focus in establishing LBCLD in South Sudan.
I was very much impressed with constructive articulation by the members during the meeting, in regard to current programming of the organization. My first attendance in the board meeting motivated me to write this blog about the effective governance in the nonprofit organization.
The nonprofit Organizations are indispensable component of our great society. They work harder to address current social issues that are affecting our daily lives in our communities.
When you read the heading above; the question that come to your mind is that, how can you tell that such nonproft organization’s governance is effective? And how do you measure its effectiveness? We, in the nonprofit sector do believe that the performance of the Board of Directors and the Executive Staff, especially the Executive Director, determines the efficiency and the success of a particular organization. The working relationship between the Board of Directors and the Executive or programs Staff of the organization is a positive feature in the performance of the organization.
The issue of the organizations’ sustainability is much more connected to how the three groups of shareholders relate to the cause of the organization and their sensitivity to transparency and accountability. The three groups here are the beneficiaries, the donors and the organization’s staff (both executive and board). All the three groups play unique roles in sustaining the organization. When the beneficiaries demand, accept and appreciate wholeheartedly the services offered by the organization, it will encourage the organization’s authority to stay on the cause of action and explore more viable programs to that particular community in needs, and in the end, the donors group will therefore feel honored and eventually give free hands in supporting the programs that save lives of the most affected and the ones in need. In this scenario, the organization in question will absolutely stay in the focus in realising their mission and vision it was founded for. This is the best way to achieving organizational sustainability.
Having shaded light on the organization’s sustainability in relations to effective governance, the following statements point out in details the effectiveness of the nonprofit organization’s governance:
It is the responsibility of both the board and the executive staff to constantly review the mission and purpose of the given organization, to articulate its goals and means. The challenge comes when an organization initiate new programs. At this time in the revolution of the organization, the board and the executive staff together must coordinate and logically study the effect of the new program over the cause to the mission by which the organization was formed. When thorough analysis of the kind is done and all matches with the focus, hence governance is unshakable in determining the organization’s mission and purposes.
The organization must recruit qualified Executive Director and the board that is determined to take the organization forward. In some cases, some members of the Board of Directors do come with their own ideologies that are different from that of the organization. If such unfortunate thing happens, the progress of the organization will more likely be retarded. Therefore, it is advisable that you recruit or accept a member that has the same interest as the basis by which the organization was established. The same thing applied to the recruitment of the Executive Director who was not one of the founders. He/she must be willing to shoulder the interest of the organization, and be transparent and accountable in all his execution of programs.
The other milestone in ensuring effective governance in the organization, is by strengthening effective planning process. Good planning helps the organization offer better choices for how to better address the socials issue at hand and how effective the intended program to the beneficiaries’ lives. Planning helps organization to envision the future. It helps find the right balance of new development, essential services and innovative change. To ensure organizational governance’s effectiveness, the board members and the executive staff must participate effectively in an overall planning process and ensure its implementation, monitoring and evaluation processes are followed to the letter.
The other justification is that, the board members and the executive staff must ensure that current and proposed programs and services are consistent with the organizations’ mission and monitor their defectiveness. This is determined through the feed-backs received from the beneficiaries and the stakeholders involved.
Effective good governance in the organization; is about ensuring adequate financial resources to fulfil its mission through transparency and accountability from all people involved. It is paramount important to account for each and every activity we do for the organization. Transparency is the light to progress and building of trust in governing the nonprofit organization.
Another aspect in ensuring effective governance in the organization is by building a competent Board of Directors. When competent board is built, the members will absolutely have responsibilities to articulate prerequisites for candidates, orient new members and periodically and comprehensively evaluate their own performance.
The board and the executive staff of the organization must ensure legal and ethical integrity for an organization’ governance to be effective. They must ultimately be responsible in making sure that legal standards and ethical norms are respected all times in their work and family lives.
And finally, it is the primary role and responsibility of the board and the executive staff in enhancing the organization’s public standing. They must clearly articulate to the public the organization’s mission, accomplishments, and goals, and gather support from the community by which their programs are being implemented.
In conclusion, the effectiveness of the organization’s governance is determined by the unwavering working relationship and commitment by the Board of Directors, Executive Staff and the potential donors. Their separate distinctive roles that they play in managing the nonprofit organization contribute greatly to effective governance of such organization.