Too Many or Too Few Board Members: A Non-Profit's Dilemma - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  650 Words
Date:  2023-02-15


While the board members play a critical role in the management of non-profit organizations, difficulties can arise when they are too few or too many. The board is supposed to work as a team. However, when the board members are too many, multiple voices may arise. Such a situation might be brought about by ineffective communication within the board. When this occurs, rivalries among the board members arise and decision making is impeded. Ultimately, this affects the performance of the organization (Ryan, Chait, & Taylor, 2018). Boards with many members face uncertainties regarding the roles and responsibilities of each member are common. This further affects their performance. Boards with too few members also face difficulties. When the board is too small, the members might lack the competence required to make some critical decisions.

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The Role of an Executive Director in Choosing Board Members

The executive director is hired by the board to oversee the execution of the various policies and programs. Their responsibilities include hiring, supervision, and motivation of the organization's staff. They also develop and manage different policies and programs. This is done in conjunction with the staff. Moreover, they serve as the link between the board and the staff. The executive director also shares some responsibilities with the board. Together, they create a strategic plan to guide the organization. They also develop fundraising plans. Evaluation of the performance of the organization is also a shared responsibility (Cullinane, 2018).

Donations From Board Members

It is generally believed that non-profit organizations can be more successful if the board members help in fundraising. However, most non-profit organizations do not require members to donate. This has been shown to lead to less engaged and weaker boards. By requiring them to donate, their engagement in the organization would be enhanced. The move can also help in making the financial position of the organization healthier. Donation by the members of the board serves as a public declaration of their investment in the charity. This encourages other donors to support the non-profit organization. Though the donation by the board members might not be bigger than that from other donors, it sets the stage for effective fundraising. Therefore, to make fundraising successful, the board members should be required to give a minimum donation. They should also be incorporated into the fundraising committee and be given fundraising tasks (Fritz, 2019).

Disagreement With a Decision Made by the Board

Boards in non-profit organizations mostly work through consensus. However, at times a board member might feel that a particular decision made by the board is unethical and could negatively affect the organization. To avoid deeper conflicts in such situations, various conflict resolution mechanisms should be employed. First, the member should communicate their concerns to the board. One can also ask for independent evaluation, such as in a situation where technical expertise is required. One can also propose to have an investigation committee look into the organization's books where misappropriation is suspected. Alerting the organization's funders or supporters can also help correct the wrong though such a move may backfire. When all these fail, the member should bring the matter to the attorney general, who oversees the operations of non-profit organizations. When the members concerned are still not addressed, and they cannot live with the decision, they can consider resigning (Masaoka, 2010).


Cullinane, M. (2018, December 26). Who's in Charge Here? Role of the Board of Directors vs. Role of the Executive Director. Retrieved from Cullinane Law Group:

Fritz, J. (2019, June 25). Why Nonprofits Should Require Board Members to Donate and Fundraise. Retrieved from The Balance Small Business:

Masaoka, J. (2010, February 23). What to Do When You Really, Really Disagree with a Board Decision. Retrieved from Blue Avocado:

Ryan, W. P., Chait, R. P., & Taylor, B. E. (2018, April 20). Problem Boards or Board Problem? Retrieved from Non-Profit Quartely:

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Too Many or Too Few Board Members: A Non-Profit's Dilemma - Essay Sample. (2023, Feb 15). Retrieved from

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