The Nonprofit President/CEO – How Much Board Trust Is Needed?

The Nonprofit President/CEO – How Much Board Trust Is Needed?

By; Eugene Fram

The title president/CEO clearly signals to the public who has the final authority in all operating matters and can speak for the organization.  They are not an ambiguous set of titles   However, the terms “manager’ or “executive director’ can be quite ambiguous and do not have the same external clout..  An executive director can be the administrator in a small church or the operational head of a large arts organization. The public and some corporate directors often view managers and executive directors (because of the organizational history of nonprofit) as “hired hands,” not as managerial professionals who are able to manage all operational activities. 

The president/CEO designation calls for a trusting relationship with the board based on mutual respect,  drawing from the symbolism that he or she is the operating link between board and staff.  It is a new type of partnership culture.  However, from a assessment viewpoint, the board still has a legal and moral obligation to ‘trust but verify.”

Source:  Policy vs. Paper Clips, pp.35-36, Third Edition (2011).  Available on in paperback or Kindle format. 

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