This post was written by Shelley Heil, who has been interning at the Charities Review Council this summer. Shelley is pursuing degrees in Sociology and Spanish at Wheaton College in Illinois.
At the core of this standard are checks and balances as a means of accountability. A conflict of interest is avoided when a staff member is prevented from acting as a board chair or treasurer. It also assures that key board positions are filled by individuals outside of the organization; thus bringing in valuable perspective, insight, and a unique network. The difficulty comes when this standard is applied to small or new organizations. Minnesota law requires that nonprofits have a minimum of three board members, if a board of three individuals includes one paid employee that translates to 33%. Members of focus groups that met in the spring voiced concern to the Council that this may be too high of a proportion.
What are the dangers or risks that you see if too many paid staff serve on a board or in key board positions? Do you think one out of three is too large of a proportion? If so, how do we account for smaller nonprofits?
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