Advice to boards: In bad economic times, keep on doing the same good things

When asked what boards of faith-based nonprofits should be doing in these tough economic times, I respond: What you should have been doing all along. In good times and in bad, the chief duty of a board is to lead with the best possible governance.

My charge to boards of theological schools in a recent issue of In Trust magazine is applicable to boards of all nonprofits.

If ever there was a need for the women and men who serve on the boards of theological schools to be in top form, it is now. When everything is going well (but who can remember a time such as that?), a board may be able to live with a stick or two of dead wood. But these days, all hands are needed on deck, at full attention, ready and eager to serve.

As theological schools in the US and Canada brace  for a protracted economic downturn, board members must rededicate themselves to the mission and vision of the institutions they serve. If a trustee feels he or she can’t come fully on board with the plans and priorities of the institution, it’s time to exit the board. There’s no room for lukewarm service.

In good times, and all the more so when the nonprofit sector is battered by brutal external forces, faith-based organizations should expect much of their boards. And board members should not be surprised by the expectation.

What's your take on this topic?

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