Have you noticed that I don’t just talk about fundraising in this column? For example, check out the two columns about destroying executive committees. Somewhere along the line, I decided that “unraveling development” could extend beyond fundraising. So here goes another not-really-fundraising column. But there are implications for fundraising.

I love Governance Committees. I don’t love Nominating Committees.

I think that the traditional Nominating Committee is out-of-step and old fashioned. The title suggests a narrow scope of work.

I prefer the title Governance Committee or Board Development Committee. This committee does more than identify and nominate board members. Here’s my description for the committee:

Purpose of the Committee: As a committee of the Board of Directors, the Governance Committee helps the Board carry out its due diligence function related to healthy development and operation of the board, its committees and task forces, and performance of the individual board member.

Reports to: Board of Directors

Staff to the Committee: President / CEO

Frequency of meetings: At least 4 times per year – more likely 8 – 10 times per year if it’s really doing its job well.

Scope of work for the Governance Committee

[All committee work is done in partnership with and through the leadership of assigned staff. The President / CEO makes all staff assignments.]

  1. Review / revise the committee job description and recommend to the Board for action.  [Typically reviewed every two years or so.]
  2. Monitor the Board’s due diligence function as it relates to governance. Recommend action to the Board.
  3. Recommend any structure changes to assure that the Board of Directors fulfills its legal and moral obligations.
  4. Monitor effectiveness of governance policies (e.g., Board operations, Officer expectations, Board Member performance, etc.) Recommend changes and / or new policies for Board action.
  5. Recommend governance standards for Board and committee operations. Monitor adherence to said standards and engage the Board in dialogue for change.
  6. Review and recommend optimum composition for the Board including diversity screens, skills, and behaviors. 
  7. Design and execute an intentional process to recruit and retain the best Board members to help achieve the institution’s mission, including the following activities:

a.       identification, cultivation and screening of candidates;

b.      nomination and contracting;

c.       orientation and development;

d.      evaluation;

e.       promotion and thanking and release as appropriate.