Galvin and Associates

Make the organizational leader ex officio



With an increasing demand for accountability of nonprofits and their organizational leaders, it makes sense to make the organizational leader a member of the board ex officio, which means “from the office.” The organizational leader is automatically in the board meetings without having to be elected or approved by a vote.

The organizational leader can serve with or without a formal power to vote. People tend to feel strongly about this one way or the other. Some say the organizational leader should have a vote to help him or her feel legitimate and a true part of the board. Others feel the organizational leader should serve without vote to make clear he or she reports to the board. In practice, it does not matter whether the organizational leader has a vote if the board is striving for consensus anyway.

Some nonprofits have the organizational leader also serve as the board chair. In our post-Enron culture, most businesses are moving away from that practice. Similarly, more nonprofits are also separating the roles of organizational leader and board chair to increase the chances for a stronger level of accountability.

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