It has become increasingly clear in my ten years of working in the sector that boards represent both a tremendous challenge and opportunity for nonprofits.
The nonprofit board model has been largely static for decades while the sector and our society has gone through radical shifts. This has in many ways held the sector back from realizing its critical role in society.
The modern day nonprofit board model is anything but modern. It was designed in a different era a time when:
- White men were the only Americans who could vote
- The only ‘office professions’ were lawyers and accountants (no marketing, HR, IT, etc.)
- Nonprofits worked almost exclusively domestically
- There was not only no Internet, but also no television
But I left the annual BoardSource Leadership Forum in San Francisco this week with hope that the tide may be turning. There is new energy in the field and a hunger for innovation.
There was a buzz in the air in San Francisco that, under the leadership of Linda Crompton, BoardSource is poised to redefine boards to better meet the needs of nonprofits and society in a world that has radically changed since the centuries old-inception of a formal governance structure for nonprofits.
FULL DISCLOSURE : Aaron Hurst is a member of BoardSource board of directors.
Aaron Hurst is the President & CEO at the Taproot Foundation.
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Image by hippydream via Flickr