We are working on creating new and updated policies for our organization and
have lots of questions regarding board and staff roles. We would be happy to
hear experiences or feedback on any of the following questions if folks have
1) Who should be able to vote at board meetings in a consensus based
non-profit, where there is a general desire for as much democracy and
particapation as functionally possible? This organization is small and there
is considerable overlap in the duties of board members and staff. How many
staff should have a vote at board meetings(should there be a restriction on
It seems common that non-profit advisers warn about having staff voting in
board meetings (many say limit it to one representative max). Does this
still hold if the staff are doing planning and research equivalent to a
board member? The executive director or staff representatives are sometimes
voting members in other nonprofits we have heard of, but ours doesn't
currently have those positions.
2) Our organization has teams that operate semi-autonomously. Staff and
board members overlap in these too, but the decision making is by all
members of the team (not just board members for example). Reversing question
#1, are there issues with having board members voting in groups that focus
on daily operations?
3) Who should be allowed to edit the operations manual; staff, board, or
both? This isn't the bylaws, but what we call the " handbook for board of
directors, staff, and volunteers". Should the staff be able to alter it as
long as it doesn't go against the bylaws established by the board? If so,
what if no one checks on a regular basis? Are there better ways to divide
bylaws from an operations manual.
4) Who do staff turn to when they have problems, or are unhappy with their
working hours, pay, coworkers, etc. (There is no executive director).
5) How board members volunteering as staff, on project teams and programs
maintain objectivity as a legal employer, while working as part of a team.
Are there processes in place that help keep authority issues clear? I guess
this ties into question 2.
6) Who are staff accountable to for reviews and pay raises and performance
thanks for any info,
ben and john