goes in the board manual?
The Board Manual: An Orientation and Resource Tool
foundation of a committed, knowledgeable, and effective board
is orientation and education. As an essential companion to orientation
and education, every organization should have a thorough, easy-to-use
manual that board members can use throughout their terms. A board
manual serves two functions. For the new board member, it is an
orientation handbook that provides useful information about the
organization, board structure and operations, and fellow board
members and staff. For the balance of a member's board service,
the manual then becomes an indispensable working tool and a central
resource about the organization and the board. Materials can be
added and removed to create an up-to-date reference. The board
manual is developed by staff in consultation with the board chairperson
and other officers. Present it to board members in a durable,
attractive loose-leaf notebook with a table of contents and clearly
divided and labeled sections. Date every item and replace material
when necessary. Insert stationery, brochures, and similar items
in pockets of the notebook.
develop a working manual that board members use and rely on:
overwhelm new board members with too much information. When
several examples are available (e.g., current press clippings),
include only one.
each item brief. A two-paragraph biography of the executive
director is preferable to a four-page resume, for example.
the handbook as a "textbook" during board orientation.
board members to read and ask questions about the material.
board members to evaluate the usefulness of the manual each
the contents or format based on their comments.
manual contents checklist
thorough board manual can include the following materials. (Remember
to keep each item as concise as possible.)
each new board member relationship with a governance statement
discussion. What are the broad roles and responsibilities (and
points of authority) of the board members, the staff, and the
executive? How do they blend and intertwine? When are these roles
based on mutual decisions and partnerships, and when are they
separate? What elements of authority are reserved for the board
members, the executive committee, and the executive director?
Which ones are blended?
clearly and concisely laying this out on the table, you will demonstrably
reduce your risk of suffering long term "board responsibility
creep"-where roles, responsibilities, and authority get clouded
and become dysfunctional.
firm strongly suggests that you use the Carver Model of board
governance, available in book form from any online book seller.
members listing and bios
statement of responsibilities
and task force job and descriptions
references of the organization
written history and/or fact sheet
of past board members
and vision statement
framework or plan
annual operating plan
from some recent board meetings
pertaining to the board
on potential conflicts of interest
recent audit report
990 Banking resolutions
material (membership brochure, information brochure, advertisements,