Nonprofit board term limits – How long should directors serve?

Nonprofit board term limits – How long should directors serve?

By Eugene Fram

I am currently a director of a five person condo board responsible for reserve and operating assets of well over $1million and capital assets probably worth over $25 million. When the condo group was formed over 15 years ago, the bylaws stipulated that each director can only serve for one two year term, but couldn’t be reelected until after a period of one year off the board. 

The logic of this arrangement was that every year either two or three new board members must be replaced. There are no provisions for special situations such as allowing the board chair another year as chair if he/she is elected at the beginning of the second year of his/her term.   It is not, in my opinion, a good process for the 21st century.

Nonprofits need to do careful bylaw reviews every five years. Some bylaws were written decades ago and haven’t been amended since, because of director disinterest in bylaw details or a difficult process to amend bylaws. I found this type of frequent change, with short two-year terms, can really hinder strategic planning.  

Following is an interesting article related to the pro and cons of term limits:

Gayle Clifford, “Cause & Effect” Nonprofit board term limits – Pro & Cons, March 9, 2012

My Blog site:



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