William Brown

Research Friday: Executive Directors’ Top Seven Roles for their Boards of Directors

posted by
William A. Brown, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor
Texas A&M University

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

Nonprofit boards have a wide array of functions and responsibilities, which begs the question, which are the most important? What functions are critical for success? In this study, Dr. Chao Guo and I researched what nonprofit executives describe as the most important roles of the board.[1] Understanding what executives prioritize helps board members engage in practices that can help their organization succeed.

We surveyed 121 community foundation executives from across the United States. These individuals provided almost 400 comments, which were organized into 13 roles. This report summarizes the top seven activities that executives need from their board members.