What are some of the specific steps that boards can take to assure accountability? Some of the more workable and appropriate recommendations I have found in answer to that question appeared in a 2002 special edition of Board Member magazine.
Among the more critical recommendations offered by various authors in that volume are:
Comply with the requirements of Internal Revenue Service Form 990. Make sure that you are doing everything possible to ensure compliance with these federal regulations.
Draft clear policies on critical areas, such as conflict of interest, fund-raising, and client protection.
Monitor executive compensation, to ensure that there is an appropriate balance between fair recognition of individual work and stewardship of organizational resources.
Adopt a code of ethics. Such a code should articulate broad ethical principles and the values underlying them. It should be the foundation for everything the organization does. Independent Sector offers a Model Code that you may find useful.
Commit to diverse board membership. Bringing to the leadership table multiple perspectives and backgrounds helps to ensure that decisions are made taking into consideration a range of considerations.
Next time, I’ll share some key finance questions that boards should ask.