Rethinking Governance in a Dynamic Environment: Board Leadership and Governance Beyond the Boundaries of the Board


  • Judy Freiwirth Nonprofit Solutions Associates Alliance for Nonprofit Management



nonprofit governance, shared governance, network governance, capacity building, nonprofit board chairs, Community-Engagement Governance™


The rapidly changing nonprofit landscape and new challenges have led to new thinking about the traditional models of governance and board leadership. This article, based on the Alliance for Nonprofit Management’s 2015 national conference research to practice sessions, describes findings from several key board chair leadership studies and research of new shared governance approaches beyond the structure of the normative, unitary board. Findings from the largest U.S. study of board chairs to date reveal that preparation for the board leadership role is severely lacking and that most board chairs generally do not engage with their community or constituents. This article also describes several shared governance approaches, including network governance and Community Engagement Governance™, that move beyond the board as the sole locus of governance. Implications for practice and suggested discussion questions for the classroom and trainings are also provided to help students learn about alternative approaches of governance.






Proceedings of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management 2015 National Conference