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It is believed, and there's evidence among the mega-nonprofits to support this contention, that a fundraising board can make the make or break difference for a nonprofit.  A Wall Street Journal article on the prospects for the WTC Arts Center states that (the Center) "To succeed, it will need to assemble a high-octane board..."

I certainly don't disagree that nonprofit boards that have or have access to wealth can make a difference for the well-being of a nonprofit.  At the same time, is having or having access to wealth all there is to good governing?  I would prefer to think the answer is no and particularly when thinking that the majority of nonprofits do not have board members who have or have access to wealth.  But maybe this criteria only applies to start-ups with particularly big dreams like the WTC Arts Center where what is singularly needed from the board is indeed "high octane" and sure, if the members can hire a decent CEO and read the financials, that's also good.

I would pose however that good governance is about just that, good governance -- passion and engagement such that whatever support and direction is needed to make a nonprofit successful is embodied and provided by those who serve as the board members.  While I recognize that the board that can give or get does indeed make a positive financial difference toward success, I also believe that a nonprofit with a great offering will attract the sources of income needed to make success.  High octane boards can indeed make a difference at the various life stages of a nonprofit but so too can smart, passionate, engaged folks who are of lesser octanes.

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Open Street Project

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