A well-meaning board can easily drive off course. Whether bogged down by endless meetings or rattled by disgruntled members, how can a board right itself and get back on track?


Recognizing a problem is the first step to creating the right solution. M. Gasby Brown’s audiobook, Seven Fatal Flaws of Nonprofit Boards and How to Fix Them, can help board member take the first steps.

 M. Gasby Brown

Seven Fatal Flaws is a compact guide to the common pitfalls of nonprofit board management. Along with helping boards recognize serious problems, this audiobook offers direct suggestions to correct them.

Are the flaws listed below sapping your board’s effectiveness?

Lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities. Brown warns nonprofit boards about blindsiding new board members by not fully explaining the expectations of the board. She encourages boards to spell out all of the board members’ responsibilities to its newest members to avoid confusion and unhappiness down the road.

Accepting “in name only” board members. “Look for members who can contribute fully to your organization’s mission,” says Brown. Instead of “in name only” board members, Brown encourages boards to seek out other ways to capitalize on the appeal of high profile individuals to encourage a deeper relationship between these individuals and your school.

No board training. “An informed board member is a strong board member,” says Brown. She offers several suggestions on creating a well-organized orientation session.

No active board committee. An effective board has active committees overseeing nominating, development, finance, and more. Explains Brown, “Without active committees the work will fall to a few key people, leading to burnout and dysfunction.”

Tolerating less than excellent leadership.  Brown urges the nominating committee to recruit new leaders aggressively, to cultivate new members, and to refuse to accept leadership that is less than the organization needs and deserves.

A board that is not the right size and composition. “Don’t forget to consider term limits,” says Brown. In addition to establishing term limits, Brown gives several suggestions for the nominating committee to properly analyze the board for appropriate size and diversity.

A board that relies solely on staff for fundraising. Board members should collaborate with staff to make sure an organization is vibrant and viable.

Seven Fatal Flaws of Nonprofit Boards and How to Fix Them is a handy guide for board members to establish wise practices. M. Gasby Brown is CEO and executive consultant at the Gasby Group, a philanthropy consulting group based in Washington, D.C. Brown’s upcoming book, The Business of a Spiritual Matter, is a fundraising primer for faith-based organizations.

Seven Fatal Flaws of Nonprofit Boards and How to Fix Them by M. Gasby Brown

Blog image credit: Steven Depolo

Photo of M. Gasby Brown courtesy of The Gasby Group