Board Governance Overview
Successful business leaders are often asked to utilize their skills and abilities to better their community through service on a nonprofit board. Good governance practice is also critical to the success of companies and our economy. Often, leaders find themselves feeling unprepared to benefit an organization because they lack the necessary knowledge and skills regarding the role of governance in leading organizations.
Board Governance is a two-course sequence that introduces students to board membership and governance through an apprenticeship on a board. Each student is matched with a nonprofit organization where the student serves as an apprentice board member, with a regular board member serving as mentor.
In the first course, students:
- Understand governance concepts and the role that boards play in ensuring the survival and effectiveness of organizations
- Improve familiarity with governance practices with particular focus on the operations of volunteer, nonprofit boards
- Build skills in gathering and analyzing information related to board governance
- Improve interpersonal skills and professionalism when working with diverse individuals
In the second course, students:
- Gain knowledge of governance principles related to planning, organization design, leadership, financial management, and culture and ethics that are applicable to all organization types
- Build skills in working on a team, meeting and communication processes, assessing results, and providing feedback to others
- Develop a richer understanding of the people, resources, and processes needed for an organization to achieve its goals
Several groups benefits from the course sequence:
Students not only learn the course objectives outlined above, but have the opportunity to share their experiences with other students. They gain greater awareness of the needs of the broader community and challenges of serving them, and they enjoy access to board members (who are often business leaders) who may serve as role models.
Nonprofit organizations gain another (often new) perspective through a student's eyes, receive analysis and suggestions for how to better achieve goals, and access to students as future volunteers, advocates, or permanent board members.
The community as a whole gains from a growing pool of people who both understand the value of service to the nonprofit community and have knowledge and skills that are beneficial in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.