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Boards that Work for Emerging Orgs

Help Developing an Advisory Board/Committee

Board of Directors, Community Advisory Board & Bylaws

Board Manual

Terms of Reference For Your Board



Boards That Work For Emerging Orgs

Ask-NCN Conversation 11/15/2013

Debbie Walker, Jerry Forbes Centre
NCN members
I need some advice on working with my Board differently as we are an Emerging organization.
Our organization is in year 6 of a capital project, we have created a new legal entity to fundraise and build a multi-tenant centre in the past year…we open in 2 years. All good EXCEPT, the Board expects me to arrive with all the answers as if we are an already Operating entity with basic NP Board issues.
I believe as an Emerging organization we need a ‘transitional agenda’ in a very fast changing year we need to work differently as we move from fundraising into construction and then into Operations in 24 months.
Any suggestions for the AGENDA and Expectations of a Board during these times?


Joe Ader, Serve Denton
Debbie, We are in a very similar place as an organization. I have been talking with my board about our organization moving from a startup phase to a growth phase. It is like putting an airplane together while it is in flight. I even showed them this old EDS commercial and then let them know that what I needed from them is to build the framework and guidance system and then the staff could fill in the rest and fly the plane. I feel like this will be an ongoing theme for us in this phase.
I want to know, though, are you still raising funds or have you already raised the funds?


Dan Meyers, Al Sigl Community of Agencies
We went through this transition 45 years ago.
Our founding Board Chair was a rock; he guided the six year start up period and stayed on for the first 2 years of operation.
He was a young attorney of unusual skill; we are blessed that he is still active on our Foundation Board 51 years later.
A key board member or two can work with you to guide the plane to safe landing.
The other strength we had at the beginning was the experience and commitment of the larger member agency executives (2 of 7).
They anticipated operation needs and led the other members to practical solutions as needed.
Another resource may be a respected local not for profit leader to serve as your advisor;
Or you could hire an organizational development consultant to facilitate a transition planning process for you and your key stakeholders.
Good luck to you and happy to correspond more.
Peace, Dan


Andy Johnston, Loudoun Cares
Hey Debbie,

There are so many questions generated by your email. I think Dan is correct in suggesting a consultant to come in and work with you and your board.

Do you already have job descriptions for your board members?
Are the expectations for board members very clear?
Do your board members already give significant financial gifts to the effort?
Do your current board members have the capacity to raise the funds required for the campaign?

Is your start up board a group of people that can get you over the finish line or do you need a very different group with different skills?
Or can you blend your current group or some of your current group with new members that bring new skills needed for moving forward?
Do you have a solid committee structure with committee chairs that are tasked with helping arrive at some of the answers you need to come from your volunteers?

This is a very short list of questions. There are so many more. Again, bringing in someone objective to help you develop a plan for moving forward could be very beneficial. Of course, we have some wonderful consultants, working through the Nonprofit Centers Network. And there are many others that could provide such assistance.


Glorie Magrum, House of Neighborly Service
House of Neighborly Service is in the middle of a two year capital campaign and a renovation project, which included every aspect of planning from architectural to construction and everything in between. It is critical that we have an active, working Board-with every Board member making the effort to insure our project is not only successful, but comes in on time and completely within budget.
If your Board is not fully engaged, perhaps a Board Retreat, bringing in an expert consultant to reinforce the role, expectations and benefits of a working Board could get you back on track and spread the responsibility a little broader.

Help Developing an Advisory Board/Committee

Ask NCN Conversation 1/25/2012

Shanna Martin, MCCOY
Hello All,

My name is Shanna Martin and I’m the Director of an initiative in Indianapolis focused on preventing child abuse, neglect and delinquency through comprehensive community efforts that coordinate, build capacity and advocate for high-quality early intervention and prevention services in our county.

One of the strategies of our strategic plan is to create a co-location of services site where non-profit (and maybe some public) providers of child abuse, neglect and delinquency prevention/early intervention services will co-locate their services under one roof in a neighborhood demonstrated to have need but few existing services.

This project is very new for us (one year) and we’ve conducted some of the needs assessment work to identify the neighborhoods and now we’re going to be working with the NonprofitCenters Network to complete the feasibility study and market assessment.

We are in the process of putting together an advisory board/committee (that may morph into the board of directors) and I was looking for advice regarding sectors that should be represented, sample MOU’s or agreements you may have with advisory committee/board members, the role they play, expectations, etc. etc. We currently have a task force that’s been great but they are all social service providers. So we are looking to expand the group to include folks from real estate, construction, legal, economic development, etc. that can help shape and guide the project. Any information/insight/documents you can share would be greatly appreciated.

Feel free to learn more about our project:


Ardi Korver, Region V
There are a couple of places in Nebraska that do this. You could contact Lynn Ayres at the Child Advocacy Center in Lincoln…402-476-3200…. and in Omaha – don’t have a phone number, but it is called “Project Harmony.”


Beth Hunter, City of Edmonton
Hi there,
There a couple of centres in Edmonton dealing with family violence and child abuse. The two I am aware of are co-located multi-disciplinary teams. You could try to follow up with them directly. The Zebra Centre has been around for a while. The Today Centre is quite new. Website links:
Best of luck


Deb Klevans, Collaboration of Arts, Social Services & Education
Our group has been working for seven years and has not been able to convince donors to provide land or a downpayment on renovating a building, so I am not sure our experience is a role model. Nevertheless, we have had some expertise represented on our board that is very useful. In addition to those you listed, I’d add a banker, someone with strong PR experience and if possible an architect as well as someone who is an experienced and effective meeting facilitator. Also make contact with local office holders — mayor, local legislators, etc. Good Luck.


Peggy Eagan, Children and Family Services Center
Hi Shanna –
CFSC brought a variety of folks onto our planning advisory group, determined by the skills and expertise they possessed. For instance, we had developers, commercial real estate brokers, furniture, technology and signage (way finding) professionals, real estate attorneys and financial experts to name a few. Each of the professionals understood the commitment they were making was to help the project and would not result in paid work for them or the company they represented. We did hire a construction management firm to oversee the two phases of construction, and we also hired a professional fundraising team to manage the capital campaign. I hope this is helpful information!


Jean Butzen, Mission Plus Strategy Consulting
Hello Shanna,
Sorry to be late responding, but you may want to consider the Illinois Facilities Fund for real estate and financing advice/counsel on this project. I am sure they would want to be invited to submit a proposal to be hired, but perhaps initially they would agree to be an adviser. Of
course you are already connected to Tides Center through the Nonprofit Centers, but they have great sample materials. Also, you could check out the collaboration page on the Foundation Center web site which has a really nice database of almost 700 actual collaborations which you can search through, and you may find some co-location samples which you can then contact for direct conversations and copies of documents, etc. Hope this helps!

Board of Directors, Community Advisory Board, and By-Laws

Ask-NCN Conversation, 5/7/13

Phebe Bell, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
Hi all- I am looking for examples of a governance model for a shared space where there is a board of directors but also some type of community advisory board or committee. I would love an example of roles and responsibilities or job descriptions for these two different entities. Thanks!


Peggy Eagan, Children and Family Services Center
Hi Phoebe – we chose just one Board of Directors, with a single Board Representative from each partner agency and an equal number of community “at-large” members. This Board sets policy, accepts fiduciary responsibility, hires/evaluates/fires the Executive Director, etc.

The partner agency Executive Directors also meet as a group regularly, but have no legal responsibility.

I hope this helps!


Phebe Bell
Thanks Peggy – do you have any by laws or job description documents from this group that you could share? Thanks you- Phebe


Peggy Eagen
ATTACHMENTS (updated 2010 version – replace on Member resources?)
ED Agreement – file under Governance Documents?


Heather Holt Villyard, ArtSpan
Hi All,
We recently created this job description for our Board of Directors. I would love to see some writing around Advisory Boards as we are in the process of formulating.


Mary Jo Dike, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Hi Phebe,
This may not be completely relevant as our organization’s community advisory committee was established to give advice and serve as a liaison to the community served by the Foundation and not just as it pertains to our nonprofit center. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has a 15 member Board of Directors and a 31 member Community Advisory Committee (CAC). Broadly, the Board is responsible for establishing policy, strategic direction and fiscal oversight. The Community Advisory Committee is responsible for governance and provides input to the Board as they move through a variety of decision making processes. Operationalizing this has been a challenge, as you don’t want to end of with two Boards.

Here is a link on Grantmakers in Health about CACs –

Attached is a copy of our bylaws. Let me know if I can provide you with more info.

Board Manual

Ask-NCN Conversation 1/21/14

Cesar Gaxiola, J. Walter Cameron Center
Recently we discussed the need for a Board Manual. Do any of you have one or how to go about? Also do any of you is mid way or almost done with your capital campaign and would share how you did for a theme and some of the logistics on how to go above?


Andrew Cutting, Foraker Group
Here is the outline for our board manual, I hope this helps.


1.1 Members of the Board and Their Terms
1.2 Members of the Staff
1.3 Board Job Description
1.4 List of Current Officers
1.5 Roles and Responsibilities of Officers
1.6 Board Committee List and Descriptions (standing/ad hoc)
1.7 Annual Schedule of Meetings
1.8 Governance Board Meeting Minutes
1.9 Operations Board Meeting Minutes

2.1 “The 7 Best Practices of High Performing Boards”
2.2 Orientation Info

3.1 Core Purpose and Core Values
3.2 The Foraker Nonprofit Sustainability Model
3.3 Current Strategic Plan
3.4 Current Operating Plan

4.1 Current Budget
4.2 Current Audit
4.3 Pro-forma Statement of Activities
4.4 Current 990

5.1 Articles of Incorporation
5.2 Foraker By-Laws

6.1 Travel Policy
6.2 Investment Policy
6.3 Summary of Policies

7.1 Code of Ethical Behavior
7.2 Board Member Compensation
7.3 Confidentiality Statement
7.4 Guiding Principles for Consultant and Staff behavior

8.1 Recommended Readings and Websites for Board Improvement
8.2 New Board Member Invitation and Orientation Protocol
8.3 Foraker Office Nomination Process
8.4 In-Kind Contribution Form
8.5 Foraker Business Plan
8.6 CEO Staff Transition Plan


Terms of Reference For Your Board

Ask-NCN Discussion 3/9/16

Katie Edwards, Nonprofit Centers Network
Hi NCN Members,

This question comes to us from Brenda Wong of the City of Edmonton:
We are finalizing our Governance Structure for MacEwan West project. We are exploring establishing a new management board (to oversee the facility operations, possibly leases and to apply for grants, etc.). The city will continue to own the building and provide capital improvements (building renewal) as well as facility maintenance (not custodial but capital maintenance).

Do you have any suggestions or examples of management board terms of references or structure that you could share? We are interested to know if they are typically non-profit groups/ societies/ part 9 companies, how the boards are structured and what the membership is comprised of.

The first part of this question is open to all of you NCN members – do you have a board terms of reference document that you are willing to share? For the second part, I’m particularly calling on our Canadian members to enlighten us on how you are legally structured. Not-for-profit? Charities? Part 9 Companies?

Thanks so much!


Pam Mauk, Together Center
Our American nonprofit started with 4 executive directors of founding agencies plus a board member from each agency. Within about 5 years, we started moving toward a more traditional nonprofit board that oversees the asset but also the mission, outreach, and more, with a mix of type of expertise. Once loans to founding agencies were paid off, the founding members started graduating off the board.

If your board is only looking closely at operations, it may not recruit the type of visionary people that help move a mission forward. Just something to consider: do you want mission drivers, oversight or both? Staff can oversee leases, facility maintenance and grants, which are not really volunteer roles, although the policies and big picture are, along with oversight. Just some thoughts.


Cesar Gaxiola, J. Walter Cameron Center

Your board members are volunteers to provide policy guidance, mission and vision for the agency. Also fundraising helping bringing funds in from the private sector. Anything to do with employees, grants, operations, management, maintenance, security and programs of the facility is the staff job to do.

In terms of the type of board members, you want people from different backgrounds i.e.: health, tourism, banking, private sector (large and/or small), etc… The more diversified the group you have at the board table the more resources you bring to the agency. You are looking on your board members to bring you treasurer, time and talent for free!

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