Board member engagement improves nonprofit success

Nonprofits face many of the same management challenges as for-profit companies, including a lack of diversity and engagement. Compared to the corporate sector, nonprofit boards have a higher level of diversity, according to 2012 research from BoardSource, an organization that helps charities improve their governance. Although many charitable foundations struggle to maintain a more diverse board, nonprofits are more likely to include women than for-profit companies.

Poor diversity in nonprofits can create disadvantages, which can impact the organization's ability to carry out their missions, Associations Now said. This can affect their abilities to run successful fundraising campaigns.

"You need to be able to relate to your stakeholders, and you want to make sure that you have a variety of voices represented at the decision-making table," Vernetta Walker, vice president of consulting and training at BoardSource, told Associations Now. "If you're not ensuring that your leadership is as diverse and inclusive as those that you're serving, then you have to ask, 'Are you missing an opportunity?'"

Management challenges can impact success of a nonprofit
Many nonprofits struggle with board management. In many cases, board members do not take an active role in fundraising. Some organizations require their boards to contribute to the organization. Although this can help fundraising, it may not improve member engagement. One-quarter of board members are not engaged with their organization's mission statement, according to research from StreamLink Software. 

In addition to misalignment, some organizations have not established clear expectations for their board members. A lack of transparency can lead to communication problems. Clear goals and expectations are crucial for the nonprofit. Boosting engagement on the board can improve the long-term success of fundraising efforts. In many cases, this can start with recruitment. Nonprofits need to ensure they are hiring board members who support the organization's values and mission. 

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