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Governance + Leadership

Nonprofit boards of directors are responsible for defining the organization’s mission, vision and values and for providing overall leadership and strategic direction to the organization. They are responsible for maintaining the ethical and legal integrity of the organization. Nonprofit boards actively set policy and ensure that the organization has adequate resources to carry out its mission, and that its activities and expenses align with mission focus. The effectiveness of a nonprofit depends in large part on the board’s ability to recruit a talented and visionary professional to fill the role of chief executive, and on a collaborative relationship between the board of directors and this chief executive.
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A Board Member’s Guide to Nonprofit Overhead
Blue Avocado
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool
A helpful overview of key issues related to nonprofit overhead, including what counts as overhead, how different charity watchdogs report overhead, tips for allocating expenses appropriately so you don't over-represent your true overhead costs and more.
Advancing Together: The Role of the Nonprofit Board in Successful Strategic Alliances
Stern International Consulting
Article/Blog
Based on a past MANP SkillBuilder, this document provides an overview of the collaboration continuum, the opportunities and challenges of alliances, and guidance about the role of the board in creating effective partnerships.
Advisory Councils and Committees
Guide/Tool, Sample/Template
Advisory councils, committees and boards can be a valuable way to gain a deeper understanding of stakeholder needs, and to expand capacity to accomplish targeted projects. Learn more about advisory boards, how they differ from boards of directors, questions to consider before starting an advisory group, and find a sample committee member invitation to help you get started.
All About Boards of Directors
Free Management Library
Guide/Tool
A compilation of advice, articles, tools, templates, guides, and legal information for boards.
All Hands on Board – The Board of Directors in an All-Volunteer Organization
BoardSource
Guide/Tool
This handbook explains the two types of responsibilities that all-volunteer organization boards have and provides a checklist that helps assess the work of the board. Helpful for sports leagues, neighborhood associations, clubs, event organizing groups, "friends of" groups, service clubs and more.
Alliance for Nonprofit Management
Organization/Agency
Nonprofit management support organization providing consultant/service provider database, event calendar, job board, resource center, and FAQ.
American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service
Organization/Agency
A national source for resources and assistance to support, facilitate, and expand the delivery of pro bono legal assistance.
Annual Report – Maine Nonprofit Corporations
Maine.gov
Guide/Tool
Nonprofits incorporated in Maine are required to file an annual report with the Secretary of State's office. This web page provides more details, including forms and filing fees.
Appealing a Late Filing Penalty
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool
Nonprofits that fail to file their annual return with the IRS (Form 990, etc.) are subject to penalties and fees.
Beyond Cash: A Guide for How Nonprofit Boards Can Tap Pro Bono and In-kind Resources.
BoardSource
Guide/Tool
A user-friendly guide with how-tos for CEOs, board members and potential members on making the most of in-kind and pro bono resources.
Beyond Financial Oversight: Expanding the Board’s Role in the Pursuit of Sustainability
Nonprofit Quarterly
Article/Blog
This article examines the role of the board of directors in establishing organizational sustainability.
Blue Avocado
Article/Blog
The online magazine of American Nonprofits with articles and opinions on nonprofit governance and leadership. Subscribe for free to receive the magazine by email.
Board Culture
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool
The culture of your board has a big impact on your board effectiveness in advancing the organization's mission.  These articles and guides will help you identify ways to shape and nurture a positive board culture that is strengths-based, inclusive, and drives outcomes.
Board Meetings, Retreats + Minutes
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool, Sample/Template
Resources to help you have legal, effective board meetings. Learn about Robert's Rules of Order, read MANP's white papers on meeting minutes and disclosure, and find a wide variety of resources to set and manage agendas and ensure rich conversation.
Board Member and Officer Job Descriptions and Contracts
Sample/Template
These resources provide a brief summary of the basic responsibilities of each officer of a nonprofit board, as well as  template you can use to create a board member job description for your organization.
Board Member Orientation
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool
A thoughtful orientation process is an essential step in bringing on new board members and laying the groundwork for your board team to advance strategic goals. The following resources will help you design an orientation process and board manual that gives new board members a clear sense of the organization's history, mission, goals, and expectations.
Board Mentoring
Various
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool
Mentoring can be a valuable component of integrating new members to your board.
Board Officer Succession
BoardSource
Article/Blog
Every board needs to plan for board officer succession: how to identify leadership qualities, elect the best candidates for the positions, train the officers for their roles, and ensure timely rotation. This resource outlines the roles of officers, the process for electing officers, and both short- and long-term strategies for when you don't have board members willing to step up to a leadership position.
Board Portals and Online Collaboration Tools
Idealware
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool
This guide provides a great overview of reasons boards consider portals and other online collaboration tools, as well as a summary of pros, cons and costs of various file sharing tools (such as dropbox and and google drive), project management tools (such as Basecamp or Central Desktop), and dedicated board portals (such as BoardPaq) that organizations may consider.
BoardCafe E-Newsletter
Blue Avocado
Newsletter
E-newsletter with ideas, information, opinion, news, and resources to help nonprofit board members.
BoardNetUSA
Organization/Agency
Board of directors recruitment and placement website.
Boards and Financial Management
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
Article/Blog
Learn about the financial responsibilities of a nonprofit board.
Boards That Love Fundraising: Specific Responsibilities
Zimmerman Lehman
Article/Blog
Strategies for involving board in resource and fund development activities.
BoardSource
Organization/Agency
Board of directors support organization recognized nationally as the central source for nonprofit boards and board development, wich provides resources including faqs, articles, advice, e-newsletter, links, tools, personal email responses, consulting, and training.
Bringing on a New Executive Director
This guide provides a look at the process of successfully orienting your organization's new leader, an often overlooked part of the executive transitions process.
Building A Strategic Framework: Mission, Vision, and Values
Article/Blog
A clear mission and vision is the foundation for any nonprofit's work. These resources define the difference between mission, vision and values statements and provide suggestions for developing clear guiding principles for your organization's work.
Changing Your Organization’s Address
If your nonprofit organization changes its address you'll need to notify both the Secretary of State's office (if you are incorporated in Maine) and the IRS.
Code of Ethics
Guide/Tool, Sample/Template
Many nonprofits and foundations develop a statement of values and code of ethics to help guide their policies, decision making and operations. The process of developing values and a code of ethics can prompt rich conversation. The following resource provide a suggested process as well as samples from other organizations that can be used as a starting point.
Community Associations Institute
Organization/Agency
This is a national organization that supports community associations including nonprofits like homeowners associations, road associations and condo associations. While these kinds of associations share many things in common with charitable nonprofits, this organization is able to provide resources more targeted to these types of associations. Resources and tools include governance guidelines, information on disaster preparedness and recovery, and a "reading room" with articles on topics such as insurance and risk management, governance, homeowner resources, maintenance, meetings and more.
Consent Agendas
Guide/Tool
A consent agenda is a strategy for improving board meeting efficiency, shifting time spent away from rote administrative work and freeing up time for rich and valuable conversation. The board chair would group several items together on the agenda and vote on them as a single entity rather than having separate discussions and votes. The following resources will help you use consent agendas effectively.
Directors and Officers Insurance (D&O)
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool, Periodical, Video/Tutorial
Directors and Officers Insurance, commonly called D&O Insurance, offers protection against a breach of "duty" by the directors and officers. Whether or not to carry this kind of coverage can be a complicated question. The following articles provide information to help nonprofits decide, and offer advice on finding coverage.
Ditch Your Board Composition Matrix
Blue Avocado
Article/Blog
An alternative perspective on the popular board composition matrix as a tool to assess board needs and develop recruitment strategies.
Every Board’s Must-Have Documents
BoardSource
Guide/Tool
This one-page handy reference guide outlines the various documents to which your board needs to pay attention.
Executive Director Contracts
Chronicle of Philanthropy
Article/Blog, Sample/Template
These resources include a model employment agreement for a nonprofit executive director, articles on negotiating contracts and key legal elements of contracts, and an article on how contracts can support effective succession planning conversations.
Executive Session
Guide/Tool
Learn why executive sessions are important, who should attend, what might be discussed, and how to keep them effective.
Exempt Organizations Update
IRS
Newsletter
Periodic newsletter with information for tax-exempt organizations and tax practitioners - attorneys, accountants, and others - who represent them.
Exit Agreements for Nonprofit CEOs
Nonprofit Quarterly
Article/Blog
This resource provides nonprofit boards with a framework to decide whether an exit agreement for the departing executive director is needed and, if so, what might be included. The article outlines different types of agreements, case examples, and risk management factors.
Financial Crisis Assessment
Foraker Group
Guide/Tool
This tool helps organizations spot if they're in financial crisis crisis or coming close to one.
Financial Policy Guidelines and Example
Propel Nonprofits
Guide/Tool, Sample/Template
Developing and adopting a written financial policy is a valuable practice for any nonprofit organization, no matter how small or large. Financial policies clarify the roles, authority, and responsibilities for essential financial management activities and decisions. Use this sample and guide to help you develop your organization's policy.
Finding and Managing Consultants and Vendors
Guide/Tool
The following resources will help you find and manage consultants and vendors, whether for a defined project, or ongoing support. If you need a referral for support on fundraising, strategic planning, legal issues, accounting issues, meeting facilitation, technology, or any other outside support, start here. (Many of the consultants and vendors in MANP's Yellow Pages offer nonprofit rates.)
Governance Models
Article/Blog
These articles outline different governance models for nonprofit boards, and help organizations better understand the role of the board versus staff leadership.
How to Remove a Board Member
Article/Blog
There are times when a board member becomes destructive or demoralizing to the mission of the organization and the rest of the board needs to make a decision about removing one board member for the good of the whole. This article provides good guidance as to when this might be appropriate, and some approaches to consider.
Interim Executive Directors
Article/Blog, Research/Report
These resources give nonprofit boards insight into the benefits of an Interim CEO. Learn about what an interim executive director does and doesn't do, and read case studies of nonprofits that have used interim CEOs during leadership transitions.
IRS Publication 557: Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization
IRS
Guide/Tool
Detailed guide with information on most types of tax exemption, including rules and restrictions related to fundraising and lobbying.
Liability Insurance
Article/Blog
These articles provide a helpful overview of the different types and terms used when discussing liability insurance, including general liability, workers compensation, professional liability, directors and officers (D&O) coverage, limited coverage and umbrella coverage.
Making the Choice Between For Profit and Nonprofit
Nonprofit Quarterly
Article/Blog
This article provides an interesting case study of the decision-making process new organizations must go through when choosing whether to incorporate as a for profit or nonprofit. The article includes a summary of the key differences related to ownership, transparency and profit. The article is based on a 2 part series by the New York Times.
Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs)
Article/Blog, Sample/Template
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines expectations and agreements for a formal partnership. These resources will help you with the process of vetting partnerships and crafting a clear agreement.
Nine Keys for Reinvigorating Board Leadership
Paul Connolly, TCC Group
Article/Blog
Tips to help you keep your board of directors engaged with your organization and energized by their board service.
Nonprofit Board Basics Online
CompassPoint
Video/Tutorial
A free online training tool designed to help people who want to volunteer in their communities and learn more about becoming a member of a nonprofit board. Users can attend interactive sessions about board service, talk with animated characters, and watch short videos of others talking about their nonprofit board experiences. The site also offers a short self assessment about board service.
Nonprofit Bylaws
Article/Blog, Sample/Template
Bylaws outline the rules of internal operation for a Board of Directors, and because regulations are state-specific, there is quite a bit of variation. A Maine nonprofits will want its Bylaws tailored to state law, in particular to the Maine Nonprofit Corporation Act. We caution against modeling bylaws on a non-Maine nonprofit’s bylaws, and organizations should note that even using another Maine nonprofit's bylaws as a template is tricky, as they may not be what's best for your organization.

The following articles provide information about nonprofit bylaws, links to sample bylaws (to be used with caution), and a checklist of what your bylaws should include.   
Nonprofit Financial Management
The Wallace Foundation
Organization/Agency
This website has a broad range of resources to support nonprofits in developing strong nonprofit management practices, including tools for budgeting, planning for growth, planning for uncertainty, calculating the cost of programs, projecting cash flow, understanding and interpreting financial reports, managing government contracts, strengthening internal controls and efficiencies, and much more.
Nonprofit Good Practice Guide
Organization/Agency
Resources and information on good practices in all areas of nonprofit management, including a section on volunteerism.
Nonprofit Quarterly
Periodical
Popular nonprofit magazine that provides advice, interesting articles, and resources.
Nonprofit Times
Periodical
A nonprofit magazine (digital or regular mail) for nonprofit executives.
Organizational Lifecycle Assessment
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool
Every organization experiences lifecycle passages and changes. Nonprofit leaders who are aware of their organization’s development stage are positioned to be more strategic about planning for its future. Use these tools to assess your organization's leadership – the chief executive and board of directors – and identify what stage of development your organization is experiencing.
Philanthropy Journal
Periodical
The Philanthropy Journal is a program of the Institute for Nonprofits at NC State University in Raleigh, N.C. delivering news, resources, announcements and job listings via daily website updates and free, weekly email bulletins.
Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundations
Panel on the Nonprofit Sector
Research/Report
Guide composed by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector that outlines 33 principles of ethical conduct, accountability, and transparency. The Panel incorporated a careful review of more than 50 self-regulation systems, counsel from a diverse committee of experts, and significant feedback from the field in the development of these Principles.
Public Policy Committee
Sample/Template
A sample charter for a public policy committee or advocacy committee.
Registered Agents
Guide/Tool
Incorporated nonprofits must have a registered agent who is the contact for the organization with the Secretary of State’s office for reminders (electronic) to file your annual report or other questions from the Secretary of State's office. Some organizations hire a lawyer or other individual to do this, but most choose the board president or other committed individual. If you do hire someone, that person would be a “commercial registered agent”. This link can help you find a commercial registered agent, if your organization chooses that approach.
Reporting Financial Information to the Board
The Board is responsible for short and long term planning, and they must ensure that systems are in place for administering effectively using resources, and guarding against misuse. In order to fulfill their responsibilities, board members must be able to rely on financial information that is accurate, timely, in context, and appropriate. This resource outlines the types of financial reports that are needed as well as how to present the information to the Board.
Risk Management Plans + Policies
Guide/Tool
Nonprofit Risk Management Center has developed affordable tools that assists nonprofit leaders in creating customized risk management plans and policies for their organizations that reflect the organization’s needs, priorities and culture. MANP is an Affiliate Member, which means our members receive great pricing. Start with their free benchmarking app to get a sense of how your organization's risk practices compare to your peers!
Risk Management Strategies for Serving Alcohol at Events
21 Reasons
Guide/Tool
Many nonprofits host fundraising, recognition or networking events. This guide is designed to help manage the risk of serving alcohol at your event by recommending policies/practices which will protect attendees and your organization. The guide includes details about Maine law and a helpful planning checklist.
Sample Board Resolution
Free Management Library
Sample/Template
A sample board resolution nonprofits can use as a model.
Sarbanes-Oxley and Implications for Nonprofits
Independent Sector, BoardSource, GuideStar
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool
These resources outline provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and how nonprofits can put in place effective oversight.
Sexual Harassment Prevention + Response
Article/Blog
Nonprofits have moral, ethical and legal obligations to ensure safe, harassment-free places to work. The following resources can help nonprofit board and staff leaders--especially those with limited HR resources--navigate these issues.
Should CEOs Be on the Board?
Council on Foundations
Article/Blog
The question of whether an executive director should serve on the board is a common question, especially for newer nonprofits. This article provides a thorough analysis of the pros and cons, as well as key questions to help you decide what is right for your nonprofit.
Sound Advice for Functions + Events
Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance, and Nonprofits Insurance Alliance of California
Guide/Tool
This guide outlines tips to help nonprofits have safer events, including tips on event planning, legal considerations, and how to handle the situation should an accident occur. The guide also includes sample planning checklists and forms, such as a sample waiver.
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Organization/Agency
Management support organization for nonprofits, foundations, and socially responsible businesses which provides articles, strategies, tools, podcasts and training.
Starboard Leadership Consulting Blog
Article/Blog
Maine-based Starboard Leadership Consulting's blog features topics related to board governance and recruitment, leadership development and transition, and strategic planning.
Starting a New Nonprofit
Guide/Tool
The process of starting a new nonprofit organization can be daunting and is something to consider and research carefully, and the process breaks down into two distinct phases - incorporating as a nonprofit in Maine, and applying for tax-exempt status with the IRS.  MANP has dedicated a section of our website to this topic, including questions to ask yourself before you begin, a recommended process in a checklist format with corresponding resources, links and samples, and a list of frequently asked questions.
Starting Off Right: What New 501(c)(3) Organizations Need to Know
IRS
Video/Tutorial
This recorded IRS webinar helps new nonprofits stay legally compliant. It covers annual filing requirements, what records to maintain, what  to do to meet the "operational test", how to avoid jeopardizing 501(c)(3) status, and what tools are available for tax compliance as an organization grows.
State Liability Laws for Charitable Organizations and Volunteers
Nonprofit Risk Management Center
Guide/Tool
A free guide with a state-by-state review of the evolving landscape of charitable immunity and volunteer protection laws.
Stepping Down: Resources for Departing Executive Directors
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool
It can be a challenge for an executive director to determine the best time to step down, or how to approach what is an important transition both individually, and in the organization's life cycle. These resources provide some guidance to an executive director on executing a successful departure.
Strategic Leadership: What a Nonprofit Leader Really Needs to Know About IT
Article/Blog
An interesting article outlining the skills a leader needs to manage technology planning, and how they are comparable to the way other types of projects are managed. The article also includes aspects to consider and pitfalls to avoid when doing technology planning.
Term Limits
Chronicle of Philanthropy, Blue Avocado, Charity Lawyer
Article/Blog
These articles outline arguments for and against the use of term limits, and present different options for structuring term limits for your board of directors.
The Board’s Role in Advocacy
Board members, as community leaders and champions for your mission, can help increase the likelihood of your nonprofit’s success by engaging in advocacy. This quick guide provides an overview of why and how board members can be involved.
Third Sector New England
Organization/Agency
Nonprofit management support organization providing events, publications, articles, and trainings.
TransitionGuides
Organization/Agency
Organization dedicated to nonprofit leadership/executive transition assistance, providing resources such as guides, articles, e-newsletter, FAQ, help line, and job board.
Unincorporated Nonprofit Associations
About.com
Article/Blog
It is not necessary to incorporate as a nonprofit in order to apply for tax-exemption from the IRS, but there are many advantages to incorporation. This article provides an overview of what an unincorporated nonprofit is and some of the challenges.
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