NGS and BoardSource

Our Favorite Materials from BoardSource

NGS is pleased to partner with BoardSource, America’s leader in nonprofit governance. BoardSource is committed to providing support that is relevant and accessible to organizations of every size, stage, geography, and programmatic focus. NGS and BoardSource share a belief in the power of nonprofit organizations and their leaders to advance the public good and create positive change.

As a benefit to NGS member organizations, we worked with BoardSource to curate a set of key information resources. These documents will help you improve your genealogy organization’s governance and performance. Please visit BoardSource on the web for more information on effective governance.


Orientation and Education

Every Board's Must-Have Documents

Even the most organized, responsible, and amiable board needs to document its activities, internal rules, and processes.

For more info, click here.

Facilitating an Engaged Board: The Board Chair’s Role

This resource details the board chair’s responsibilities in facilitating engagement and ensuring all board members are committed to the organization’s mission. It explains key aspects of the board chair’s responsibilities, including

  • building strong peer relationships
  • facilitating board meetings
  • fostering a culture of inquiry among board members

For more info, click here.

Culture & Dynamics

Term Limits: Thumbs Up? Thumbs Down?

Nonprofit boards have been debating the pros and cons of term limits for many years. If your board has not embraced term limits (and BoardSource recommends you do), perhaps the time is now for your board to revisit the topic.

Taking Action on Board Diversity: Five Questions to Get You Started

Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices reveals some troubling information about the diversity of today’s nonprofit boards: we’re making little progress in diversifying our boards, are dissatisfied with our board diversity, but are doing little to prioritize it in our board recruitment practices. To help spark action, BoardSource presents five questions for your board to contemplate.

Strategy & Planning

10 Common Benefits of Dashboard Reporting

There are probably as many ways to work with dashboards to realize these benefits of critical thinking and board engagement as there are board members. The following are 10 common ways that have proven in practice to be valuable.

Structure Committees & Meetings

Preparing for More Effective, Focused, and Strategic Board Meetings

High performing boards take time during each board meeting to discuss critical issues and concerns, making preparation for meetings essential. Improve your board meetings by learning about the key roles each participant plays both before and during meetings. The resource discusses the roles of the

  • board chair
  • chief executive
  • board members
  • senior leadership

Board Meeting Preparation: 10 Tips for Chief Executives and Board Chairs

Strategic board meetings place more importance on the chief executive and board chair providing helpful materials in advance.

Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices found that chief executives and board chairs agree that there is a relationship between board meeting preparation and board culture. Those who report that their board members are prepared for meetings also report positive board culture. However, more than a quarter (26 percent) of executives and nearly a fifth (18 percent) of board chairs report that their board members are unprepared for board meetings. Here are ten tips for chief executives and board chairs to improve the board meeting materials they share with the board before meetings, setting everyone up for success.

Executive Sessions: Why, Who, What, and How

Executive sessions are a special meeting-within-a-meeting that provides an opportunity for the board to meet privately to handle sensitive and confidential issues, foster robust discourse, and strengthen trust and communication.

They are usually exclusive to board members, but others, such as the chief executive, may be invited to join for all or part of a session. BoardSource recommends that every board should have regularly scheduled executive sessions before, during, or at the end of regular board meetings. As you review the information below, consider adding executive sessions to your board meeting schedules.

Nonprofit Board Committee Membership: Who Should Serve on Which Committee?

All board members should serve on a board committee, but determining where to place them is often more art than science. This resource, complete with worksheets for the five most popular committees, is designed to help.

Are Your Board Committees Working Well?

No board’s committee structure should be set in stone. Every board should pay close attention to the needs of the board and the organization and make sure its workgroups are meeting those needs. Frequently reevaluating your board’s committee structure and keeping it flexible allows your board to address structural issues as they occur or even before they start. In this resource, BoardSource suggests some questions you might ask the board to determine if your board structure is working, as well as some guidance on how to structure your board.

Executive Committee

The role of an executive committee, as of all committees, is to help the board accomplish its work in the most efficient way. Some boards form an executive committee just because everyone else has one — it seems to exist by default. When creating any committee, it is wise to first analyze the entire structure of the board and determine whether that particular committee would add value. This outline helps boards determine whether an executive committee is a necessary tool for their organization.

Finance Committee Fundamentals

Does your organization have one finance committee that carries out all of the duties associated with financial oversight? Or do you have separate finance, audit, and investment committees? BoardSource recommends that organizations that conduct an independent audit have a separate audit committee or task force for added accountability.