Nonprofit Board Governance

Stanford Discussions with William Ryan - The nonprofit board governance literature has suggested that boards are unclear about their roles and responsibilities. In response to this issue, nonprofit boards have been presented with more and more detailed and restrictive job descriptions. For William Ryan, a consultant to foundations and nonprofit organizations and research fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University, the lack of clarity isn't the only culprit for the rampant lack of enthusiasm for governance among nonprofit board members. Ryan suggests that boards find their work neither personally meaningful to them nor consequential for the organization and analyzes board disengagement as a problem of purpose.

To remedy this situation Ryan offers a new conceptual framework for helping nonprofit organizations maximize the effectiveness of their boards called Governance as Leadership. The Stanford discussions with Willian Ryan can be downloaded by clicking the link or right click and "Save target as" [audio clip mp3]