Wise Giving Wednesday: Building Trust Part 2

By H. Art Taylor
President & CEO BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Jul 17, 2020

Governance & Oversight – Board Meetings

The board of directors is pivotal in providing guidance and oversight to a charity and ensuring it is fulfilling its mission. Holding regular meetings to review and discuss important organization decisions, such as budgets, program updates and fundraising efforts, is a process that increases the likelihood that this guidance occurs. That is why – in order to be a BBB Accredited Charity (i.e., meeting all 20 standards) – the third standard in the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability addresses this issue. We ask a charity to bring together its board of directors at least three times a year with at least 50% average attendance for the meetings held.

The buck stops with the governing board — and in some the ways the board serves as the “stand-in” for donors by ensuring that the organization is appropriately carrying out its announced mission in the best way possible. This can’t be done without regularly scheduled meetings throughout the year.

We believe that face-to-face participation is key to carrying out proper oversight responsibilities, however, a telephone conference can substitute for one of those three meetings as long as official business is conducted and minutes are taken. On occasion, for some charities, conflicting schedules and geographical barriers may create challenges to holding in-person meetings with the desired frequency. For example, a charity focused on international issues may have board members located in other countries. In such cases, videoconferences can count as face-to-face meetings as long as video participants can see each other during the meeting.

This evidence of engaged and involved decision-makers is a fundamental verification of effective governance. A charity can have a board roster that includes some of the most impressive and respected individuals known but unless that leadership is brought together on a regular basis, the roster of governing board members serves as letterhead leadership that provides a false sense of security for donors.

Take a look at our national charity reports to see if your charity of choice meets this important standard.

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance

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