Three Options for Non-Profit Board Governance


Types of Non-Profit Boards – Options for Governance Models

Although the literature in this field is high, in fact, there are three different types of boards or model of governance. They are:

1. An operating (or Administrative) Board

2. A Policy-Governance (or Carver) Management

3. A Policy Board

Operational Committees is useful when

  • organization is grassroots and have few or no employees.
  • Authority is experiencing a major crisis and the government must step in to manage the company until it is stabilized.
  • organization is newly formed and not yet ready or able to hire people to operate the service or program.

Increased sophistication of organizations has made a business of governments less. As a result (and unfortunately) very little information on how to be an effective control of this kind. It is often assumed that practical board will be transitional – meaning it will become a trend such as foundation work of the new structure is completed. In fact, many smaller charities do have operational control for many years. Management core group of volunteer service work up with little or no need for paid employees. An excellent web radio link (not related to the author of this ezine article) for grassroots charities is provided in the resource section below.

Policy-Governance or Carver mentioned are often used by larger organizations which provide high-level professional delivered services and applications. This type of control

  • is the least involved in three categories boards.
  • Emphasis is placed on creating end statements (results or outcomes to achieve), rather than the way or how, or what must be done to succeed.
  • focuses exclusively on creating and monitoring policies that require and limit the manager to do or not do certain things. Given these limitations, the manager and staff may have operations that it deems appropriate and necessary.

This model is intended to simplify the role of board-staff relationships. In practice, most boards and senior managers find the model complex to implement in the early stages. The “Carver Model” is very well regarded by some organizations using it, while others have changed the strict expectations model and found it works better for them. Still others have tried a governance policy approach and abandoned it. Anecdotally, if this model is to be effective, it would seem that a certain sophistication and persistence is necessary, both by the board and the senior executive.

policy board is the most common model of governance among non-profit today. Policy board

  • Representatives (writing) responsibility for day-to-day management and operations of the organization.
  • Creates, reviews and then approves governance policies (how will control their own work and business of the Board) and the framework strategy, such as vision, mission, purpose and core values).
  • Specifies how the manager will be held accountable for the use of capital, program / service outcomes and resource management practices.
  • Supports manager and assesses / his performance annually.
  • ensure the organization has the financial resources to fulfill its mission and mandate.

It is important for the board to declare itself (with board movement) to be one of three types of tables. Activities Board, the remuneration job and relationship with Director of all hinge on the governance model Board elects.


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