Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Monday, June 11, 2007

Whose Nonprofit? Yours or the Board's?

Many people starting new nonprofits have a strong vision of what they expect the organization to be, and how they want to run it, only to wind up disillusioned or fighting with their board when they realize that nonprofits are cooperative enterprises.

So, whose nonprofit is it anyway? That's the question being asked today on the new "Nonprofit Connectors" blog. While the founder certainly has a strong and major influence, if things are run properly, it is the full board that is the legal holder of the governance power and can sometimes have a different vision than the founder.

But the answer to the question of "whose nonprofit" isn't the founder or the board; it's the public. The board may have the final say, but it is as the official guardian of the public interest that they hold that power. As Nonprofit Connectors writes, "Nonprofits are meant to be publicly funded; therefore, they need to be publicly governed as well."

This is only the second posting from Nonprofit Connectors, but it's a good and important one. They bill themselves as "A place to connect newly founded nonprofits with established ones." Sounds like a good idea to me; I'll be watching.

1 comment:

  1. I spent fifteen years in a nonprofit mental health agency which was founded by a strong group of parents of disabled kids. Those parents made up the core of a large (33 member!) board which often made those of us in agency administration slightly crazy. But their commitment and energy drove the organization in distinctive ways. Ultimately, their advocacy was at the heart of our organization and many other nonprofits that I came to know over the years. So, for me, while the public is the agency's ultimate "customer," the board drives a nonprofit's culture and often determines its fate.