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Thoughts On "12 Reasons Why You Should Gracefully Resign From A Nonprofit Board"

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When Board Members Should Consider Stepping Down

This outstanding article mentioned in the title and linked to below outlines most of the reasons every nonprofit board member should consider before even thinking about going to the next board meeting.

Honestly, if everyone read the article found here, at least a few people would resign from a nonprofit board they serve on versus attending the next board meeting!

Just think how much stronger the board would be and how delightful the meetings would be without those members who qualify for exiting based upon one or more of Gene’s reasons.

Just think how much stronger the nonprofit would be if they were not doing anything to compromise the integrity and strength of the board who is there as volunteers to support and help them in every strategic manner possible.

Let’s explore the reasons that piqued my strongest pet peeves regarding bad board members, and even worse, bad governance practices.

You have a material financial interest in a transaction with the organization that would be damaging if known by the public

If the above is true and you do not resign, you are putting the image and brand of the charity in severe jeopardy. In addition, your personal image and integrity are in danger, as well as your business if applicable.

Please rise above all of these potential dangers and take the right action by resigning. You can still be an avid supporter and donor of the charity without being part of the body of people who are charged with making strategic decisions.

You are unable to support the organization when a board action is taken contrary to your vote

When you become part of any organization’s board you are consenting to proper rules of order, which include the age old majority rule on all motions taken to a vote by the board chairperson.  

This is not negotiable!

You are not informed about the organization’s current activities and/or mission oriented results, and you are not informed about the performance of the organization’s executive

Now we have the organization to blame on this one!

This should not be allowed to ever happen period!

This usually stems from use of an Executive Committee, who takes it upon itself and the few selected members to discuss and make all “important” decisions.  When this is happening, and the other board members allow it, it is not truly a board of equals.

This should be pointed out, ask for the proper changes, and if they are not made, outline them in your resignation letter. Only if enough of the rank and file board members stand up to this, will it change!

You’re missing a significant number of board meetings and therefore unable to actively participate in governance-related planning, deliberations, and actions

Let’s face it, if you are missing anywhere near 50% of the board meeting, as well as committee meetings you serve on, then it is time to resign.  

Every board needs members who are active participants so strategic items and their decisions can be discussed and made at every meeting.   

You can still support and advocate for the organization as a non-board member and yes, you can return as a board member when you have the proper time available.

Now you know four of my biggest nonprofit governance pet peeves. Thank you Gene for bringing all 12 exceptional reasons for gracefully resigning to light.

Finally, please accept my heartfelt congratulations for such a superb article, Gene!

How about the rest of you, what pet peeves did the article strike home with for you?

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  • Gene

    Thanks, Jay! I appreciate the shout out and your added perspective.
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