nonprofit governance

The Best Attributes of an Effective Nonprofit Board Chair- Updated 7/9/2012

The Nonprofit Quarterly Newswire (July 8th) reprinted a 2007 study showing “ The Best and Worst of Board Chairs.” Based on personal interview and online surveys, conducted by Yvonne Harrison & Vic Murphy, the study showed five major clusters for effective nonprofit chairs and one cluster for ineffective behavior. Effective chairs had; 1. Relationship Competencies; 2. Commitment & Action Competencies, 3. Analytical Skill Competencies; 4. “Willingness to Create” Competencies; 5. Ability to Influence Competencies. Ineffective Chairs had: Dominating Behavior.

I thought it would be helpful to show this leadership characteristic information along with the action attributes from previous blog. The action attributes Were developed from my field insights into the action attributes of effective chairs.

 The Best Attributes of an Effective Nonprofit Board Chair

By: Eugene Fram

A nonprofit CEO’s professional attributes are the topic of dozens, perhaps even thousands, of articles.  However this is not the case with Board Chairs. 

Following are my views of the professional attributes a nonprofit Board Chair needs to have to operate effectively.

  • Has significant mission centered interest in the organization.  Although the chair’s professional efforts may be far afield from the nonprofit’s objectives, he or she must be able to perceive substantial value in the outcomes of the staff and board efforts. < (more…)

The Nonprofit Board As a Stereotype For Its Organization

The Nonprofit Board As a Stereotype For Its Organization

By: Eugene Fram

How stakeholders and potential donors view a nonprofit board can easily be used to stereotype the entire nonprofit, even if it is offering good service!    Following are some major differences between what might be called a “modern” board, one that has grown and has exited its start-up stage and a “conservative” board, one that has grown, but the board still operates as if it were a start-up stage. (more…)

Once Again: What Makes for a Successful Nonprofit Board?

Once Again: What Makes for a Successful Nonprofit Board?

By: Eugene Fram

Successful nonprofit boards come in a variety of organizational structures and sizes, largely determined by the their mission, vision and values. However, Carter Burgess, Managing Director & Head of the Board Practice at RSR Partners, an executive recruiting firm, suggests three of the most prominent success factors. Although his article is directed to for-profit boards, there are many suggestions that apply to nonprofit boards. (more…)

Volunteers Alert: Are You President/CEO of a Nonprofit?

 Volunteers Alert: Are You President/CEO of a Nonprofit? Charity boards

By: Eugene Fram

Nonprofit volunteer directors who hold the title of President/CEO and then have the chief operations officer listed as the Executive Director may be in for a surprise. (more…)

How Nonprofit Board Members/Management Can Make Sense of Sustainability

How Nonprofit Board Members/Management Can Make Sense of Sustainability

By: Eugene Fram

I recently read an article published in April, 2011 issue of the “Nonprofit Quarterly” by Jeanne Bell, titled “Beyond Financial Oversight: Expanding the Board’s Role in the Pursuit of Sustainability.’ I think the suggestions in it will be of interest to nonprofits whose budget expenditures are mainly centered around staff and programs and less on maintaining material & real estate.

First, the article calls (more…)

Att: Nonprofit Board Members, Trustees & Managers: Complimentary Leader’s Guide for Policy vs. Paper Clips

I thought some followers might be interested in the Leader’s Guide for my Book Policy vs. Paper Clips Third Edition (2011).   The book is available in paperback and kindle formats on 

Leader’s Guide for Policy Vs Paper Clips–Third Edition

by Dr. Eugene H. Fram, Professor Emeritus

E. Philip Saunders College of Business Rochester Institute of Technology
1 West Edith Ave (A103)
Los Altos, California 94022 | 650-209-5724)

While Dr. Fram is certainly an advocate for the Corporate Governance model, you don’t have to be a believer to find a number of gems applicable to all nonprofit governance issues contained now in his just-released third edition of Policy vs. Paper Clips.
Mike Burns

President of BWB Solutions, “Nonprofit Board Crisis,” April 5, 2011

Copyright 2011 by Eugene Fram


Using This Guide

The third edition of Policy vs. Paper Clips can be effectively used as a discussion vehicle for one-day executive seminars on NONPROFIT GOVERNANCE targeted to chief executives and board directors.

The book’s strength is based on recognizable problems and opportunities covered within a compelling storyline. (more…)

What’s required to develop a positive nonprofit board culture?

What’s required to develop a positive nonprofit board culture?


  1. In order to maintain trust between the board chair and the CEO, the board chair must be certain that the evaluation of the organization and the personal evaluation of the CEO are inclusive, i.e., cover a balance of the most relevant outcomes.
  2. The interpersonal chemistry between the board chair and the CEO must be a positive one.  If the interpersonal chemistry is poor, civil discourse at meetings is hard to maintain.
  3. The CEO needs to be flexible. He or she needs to accommodate to a new boss every year or two and can’t become complacent.  The CEO needs to be alert to the fact the board, often initialed by a new chair, may want to move in a new direction. 


Directors & CEO Alert: Never underestimate the power of the established board culture as a barrier when attempting to make changes.  However in some instances culture can be an asset in change management.



Source: “Policy vs. Paper Clips” Third Edition, 2011, pp. 156-157.