Critical Board Issues
We believe that we have a leadership imperative to help create change through special initiatives and campaigns that address critical board issues.
BoardSource works with leaders and organizations that represent the full diversity of the nonprofit sector, which gives us a unique vantage point from which to see critical issues and opportunities that we collectively face. When we identify a particular way in which we — as a sector — can strengthen our impact, we believe that we have a leadership imperative to work to create that change through special initiatives or campaigns.
This leadership role is supported and informed by our research, most especially Leading with Intent: A National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, which is a biennial study of nonprofit board composition, practices, performance, and culture. Through Leading with Intent, we are able to identify challenges and opportunities, as well as benchmark progress over time.
Key Issues BoardSource has Prioritized as Critical
Advocacy and Ambassadorship: Stand for Your Mission
Challenging boards to be stronger advocates and ambassadors for their missions. BoardSource believes that it’s critically important for organizations and their leaders to pay attention to the policy environment in which they operate and to engage when there are opportunities — or threats — that could impact the organization’s mission. Through the Stand for Your Mission campaign, BoardSource — in collaboration with our partners at the Alliance for Justice, the Campion Foundation, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Knight Foundation and the National Council of Nonprofits — is working to educate boards about the opportunity for greater impact through public policy, and the important role that boards can play as advocates and ambassadors for their mission.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Positioning boards to provide stronger leadership on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As the decision-making body at the highest level of organizational leadership, boards play a critical role in creating an organization that prioritizes, supports, and invests in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Whether in the hiring of the executive, the determination of strategy, the allocation of resources, or the goal of serving the community with authenticity, the board’s leadership on diversity, equity, and inclusion matters. Unfortunately, many boards are not grappling with these issues, which is something that we believe is informed and exacerbated by the lack of diversity — especially racial diversity — on boards. According to Leading with Intent, only 20 percent of all board members are people of color, and a full 25 percent of nonprofit boards are 100 percent white. BoardSource is working on a number of different fronts to build greater momentum around the board’s leadership role in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will be expanding these efforts in the coming years.
Strategic Alliances and Restructuring
Encouraging boards to consider strategic alliances and restructuring as a strategy for impact. Whether an organization is looking for a way to expand strategically, access new capacities or strengths, or leverage collective resources, BoardSource believes that there’s a tremendous opportunity to unlock new opportunities for scale, efficiency, and impact within the social sector through strategic alliances and restructuring. Together with experts in the field, BoardSource is actively building tools and resources to support boards as they consider how strategic alliances and restructuring can serve their mission.