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Joining a Nonprofit Board: What You Need to Know

Handbook / Manual

By: Marc J Epstein and F Warren McFarlan


Hardback | May 2011 | #192190 | ISBN-13: 9780470931257
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £26.99 $35/€31 approx

About this book

Often business executives serve (or are asked to serve) as board members of nonprofit organizations. However, without a clear understanding of how nonprofits work, service on a board can be a frustrating experience.

Joining a Nonprofit Board offers an important guide to the roles and responsibilities of a nonprofit board member. Marc J. Epstein and F. Warren McFarlan provide a step-by-step guide to how board members can work with a nonprofit organization to achieve the organization's overarching mission, attain financial sustainability, and develop and execute the systems needed to accomplish both.

Based on more than 10 years of research from Rice University and Harvard Business School and filled with illustrative examples, Joining a Nonprofit Board explores the basic structure of a nonprofit, explains how to build and monitor a nonprofit's mission, and identifies how the board performs an effective assessment of a nonprofit. The book also explores the challenges posed by the duality of leadership between the unpaid volunteer non-executive chairman of the board and the CEO.

Joining a Nonprofit Board includes a helpful explanation of a "board member's life cycle." The authors start with the decision to join a board and explain how to prepare for the first meeting. The book explores how to serve effectively the first two years and reveals what it takes to develop your ongoing role as a trustee. Finally the book describes how to transition off the board to other forms of service with the organization.

As an individual who has served on various nonprofit boards, and as the president and CEO of a large nonprofit organization, I can attest to how valuable this book is. Marc Epstein and Warren McFarlan offer insight into the expectations of nonprofit board members, which is extraordinarily beneficial to individuals considering their first nonprofit board and to seasoned professionals already serving on boards." -Gail McGovern, President and CEO, American Red Cross

"A must-read for all new and existing nonprofit board members. It is full of practical advice that will help improve the effectiveness of nonprofit board members and the organizations they serve." -Roger Servison, president emeritus, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and vice chairman, Boston Symphony Orchestra


Exhibits, Figures, and Tables.



1 Introduction.

2 Mission.

3 Performance Measurement.

4 Financial Strategy and Oversight.

5 Philanthropy.

6 Board Structure and Role.

7 Leadership Chairman and CEO-A Complex Partnership.

8 You as a Trustee.


References and Reading List for Senior Managers and Board Members.

Case Studies of Interest.

The Authors.


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