For nonprofit organizations to function optimally, all facets of operations should be in good shape. This means that the staff is well-suited and productive AND that the board of directors is doing its job as well. While board members may not see and understand all the ways their role influences the overall health of the organization, it is important for the board of directors to realize that they do have a role in the morale of staff. A functional board contributes to the overall productivity of the staff and the organization.
Staff looks to the board of directors for guidance, regulations, support and the tools and resources to the work that is expected of them. When a board is lax or negligent, or does not take care of tasks and responsibilities, it does not take long before the staff and daily operations of the organization are affected.
Regardless of the size of the organization, the staff looks to the board to provide policy and guidelines and to help prioritize work and effort. They also need a strong, functioning board to set the fiscal tone of the organization or agency. How meetings function is a good indicator of how well the board is functioning.
Decisions are made at board meetings and staff needs decisions to be made on a timely basis. Information needs to flow in a healthy way from staff to the board and back to the staff again. The role of conduit usually falls on the executive staff (an executive director or other executive position.) If board members fail to attend board meetings, or there are too few in attendance to conduct business, staff can get frustrated and feel unsupported. After all, if the mission isn’t important enough for the board members to show up and tend to it, how can staff be expected to stay on track?
It is up to the board of directors to meet regularly, tend to the business of guiding the organization’s policy and activities, and to make sure that staff has the support and resources they need to do their jobs. A healthy, functioning board has a direct impact on the overall morale of the organization’s staff.