Board Portal Best Practices: Governance
By Dustin McKissen, April 12, 2018
Effective governance is the core responsibility of any board of
directors. To govern effectively, your board of directors needs talented,
dedicated directors who passionately believe in your organization’s mission and
However, talented and dedicated directors alone are not enough to
ensure effective governance. An organization’s systems, structures, policies
and procedures, and strategy help foster an environment where sound governance
Here are a few things your board of directors can do to create a
strong governance model that will help your organization achieve its strategic
1. Have clearly defined roles and responsibilities on your board of
Too often boards lack job descriptions for both officers and
directors. A president or chairman knowing they run board meetings and a
treasurer knowing he or she is responsible for presenting the budget is not the
same thing as a formal job description.
You can start with a template and, using BoardPaq’s “Forms”
feature, customize it to fit your organization. Your directors and officers
will appreciate knowing what is expected of them, and how they can measure
their own success.
2. Create polices and procedures to help deal
with the unexpected.
In addition to job descriptions, creating policies and procedures
is an important aspect of effective governance. Board meetings and decisions
are frequently routine. However, there are instances that even the most
experienced board of directors haven’t confronted. For example, conflicts of interest can create unique
challenges. In addition to conflicts of interest, conflicts between board
members can also occur—and when they do, they can damage a board’s ability to
govern if handled ineffectively.
(We’ll get to
conflict among board members in #3.)
Creating policies and procedures that help guide your board when
the unexpected occurs will help maintain the board’s ability to govern, even
when challenges arise.
3. Foster an environment where directors feel
confident questioning the status quo.
There is a difference between rubber-stamping and effective
governance. Most board decisions are likely to be unanimous, with little
dissent or conflict. However, a board that simply rubber-stamps the decisions
of leadership is not governing effectively—or taking the type of bold action
that on occasion is both controversial and essential to keeping its
organization relevant to its stakeholders.
Encourage healthy dissent and disagreement. Make sure diverse perspectives and experiences are well-represented on your board. Don’t let
meetings devolve into screaming matches, but do understand that effective
governance and easy governance are not the same thing.
Of course, when those moments of dissent get out of hand, make
sure you refer back to #2.
4. Create a strategic plan.
The theme of this post?
Governance thrives with structure.
And one of your organization’s most important (though adaptable)
structures is your strategic plan. Without direction, every organization
flounders. That’s true for governments and huge corporations. It’s also true
for small nonprofits, co-ops, community banks, trade associations, and school
boards. A well-developed strategic plan, based on a thorough
SWOT analysis, will help your board of directors govern more effectively. After
all, the point of good governance isn’t to run a good meeting.
It’s to achieve the results your stakeholders expect.
That’s why BoardPaq has designed a board portal with features that
will help your board of directors govern more effectively, including:
• Dynamic Forms Builder &
Reporting, a feature that helps your organization create forms that
are essential to effective governance, including job descriptions,
conflict-of-interest forms, polices and procedures, and other documents that
will help your officers and directors understand exactly what is expected of
a core component of the BoardPaq platform that allows administrators to assign
and track tasks, record minutes and attendance, track votes, and provide the
structure effective governance requires.
Analysis, a collaborative tool
that helps board members and other participating stakeholders assess the
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing your organization. The
SWOT analysis should form the foundation of the strategic plan your board
These features and more are available in the most affordable and
value-added board portal on the market. That’s why school districts, trade
associations, nonprofits, rural cooperatives, community banks, credit unions,
economic development agencies, colleges and universities, and other board-led
organizations use BoardPaq to run efficient, paperless board and committee
Interested in learning more about the board portal of choice for
Sign up for a demo today!