Governance structures can be organized based on where they stand on a continuum between pure policy and pure administrative boards. The former develops policy and hires an executive director for implementation, while the latter are hands-on, doing the work of running the organization.
On this continuum are four main types of boards, which can be organized based on the level of day-to-day involvement.
1. Policy Governance Board
Also known as a “Carver Board”, this model creates the greatest distance between the board and operations. The board rarely works with committees and focuses its efforts on policy development. An Executive Director who reports to a Carver Board generally has a very clear scope and role, which includes limits on what can be undertaken.
2. Policy Board
This is a very common model in Associations and other not-for-profit organisations. The board sets direction and creates policy, and also contributes to high-level operations through the work of committees. The relationship between a Policy board and the staff is a partnership.
3. Working Board
This is another common non-profit governance model, seen most often in organizations which have no staff. Directors on a working board play a hands-on role in managing and executing operations, such as public relations, fundraising financial management and programming.
It sounds straight forward but what about the ‘grey areas’ or the ‘micro managing’ on a policy board which happens far too often? A solid, well written set of board governance polices will help. Effective Board training is also a key in developing and maintaining a solid Board model.
The ‘new normal’ for Board governance training both during and following the coronavirus pandemic is online Board training. One word of caution, ensure that it is customized training, as each Board is different and there is not one size of Board training that fits all…