Choosing the Right Board for Your Florida Nonprofit
Many people dream of running a faith-based business. Whether it is a church, shelter, or some other type of service that helps those in need, our local nonprofit businesses provide invaluable services that simply cannot be provided by the government or private for-profit industry. As a faith-based law firm in Fort Lauderdale, the Sejour-Gustave Law Firm, PLLC, has helped many local churches and charities develop their strategic plans and business structures. But one thing we cannot do is choose your board for you. So, here are some key considerations when selecting individuals to serve and lead your nonprofit.
What You Need
First, you need a total of at least three directors who will serve on the board. This is a statutory requirement in Florida. They may be paid or unpaid, but there are careful considerations to either approach.
Does the individual you wish to nominate to the board actually have sufficient time to dedicate to the project? It may be a laudable goal to have physicians, attorneys, or faculty from a local college serving on the board, but if these individuals are so busy they cannot make appearances to meetings or participate in any meaningful way, then it may not be a wise choice. After all, your board of directors should bring some skill and knowledge to the project. If they cannot devote any time, all the skill in the world is irrelevant.
There are pros and cons to paying a director. First, if you pay a director of a nonprofit, then you create the potential for a conflict of interests. For instance, what happens if there is a situation where the director’s salary is in question? What if the needs of the nonprofit conflict with paying the director a salary or raise? It is not an enormous concern for every nonprofit, but it is certainly one that should be considered. It often makes sense to create a dual-role, whereby the director also holds a position as an employee. This allows the person to receive a salary as well as serve on the board for free. But you will want good conflict policies in place to clarify the distinctions in roles.
Next, consider the reputation of the directors you wish to put in place. If someone has had their professional license suspended or had some form of public reprimand, that negative publicity could translate to a negative image for your company. The last thing you would want is to create a truly deserving and worthy cause and have a key member of the board tarnish that with a pre-existing reputation.
As a last point, it is worth noting that many nonprofits are tied to religious organizations. Whether a church or a church-affiliated organization, charities of faith exist throughout Florida. If your organization will be guided by faith, then you should carefully consider the religious ideology and lifestyles of your directors. You surely want their beliefs and values to match your organization. If not, they may make choices that conflict with the goals you set out to accomplish.
As a faith-based law firm, here at the Sejour-Gustave Law Firm, PLLC, we understand the delicate challenges that go into creating a faith-based organization, including what it takes to support a culture that thrives. If you are creating a nonprofit of any kind and need help, give our team a call today.
Or, to sign up for our January 16, 2021 video seminar, How to profit from your nonprofit, check us out online.