Oct 5th 2016

The Roles and Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards of Directors within the Governance Process (Coursera)

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This course provides a more in-depth look at the roles and responsibilities of boards of directors in the governance of nonprofit organizations. While the course has been developed with North American culture in mind, we do appreciate that in other parts of the world, the nature of the roles and responsibilities of boards of directors may not be the same. Nevertheless,it is our hope that much of the course content will still be of value to those in other parts of the world.

Course 2 Overview:

Week 1: Some of the questions to be explored this week are: What is the board's role in planning for the organization's future and why is it important for nonprofit organizations to do it? What is strategic planning and what can boards do to carry this out effectively?

Week 2: This week's questions: What is the board's role in assessing the performance of the organization? Why is performance assessment important? Why do many boards have difficulty meeting their performance assessment responsibilities?

Week 3: This week's questions: What are the elements of the fundraising/resource development process? What is the board's role in ensuring the organization has adequate funding? What information should be in a resource development plan?

Week 4: At this stage, you are asked to review the course content, submit a written assignment (known lightheartedly as a BEAR (Board Effectiveness Readiness Assessment), and take two multiple choice Readiness Assurance Tests (known similarly as RATs). One RAT will assess knowledge and reading comprehension and the other will test application of knowledge within a practical case.

Week 5: We will encourage you to discuss the RATs in the discussion forums and take them again should you wish to change any of your answers based on the information exchanged.

The Roles and Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards of Directors within the Governance Process is course 2 of 4 in the Improving Leadership & Governance in Nonprofit Organisations Specialisation.

Identify and analyze leadership and governance issues, create practical ways to improve board performance and work with boards to implement these improvements. This Specialization consists of three courses plus a Capstone Project: (1) Course 1 topics: The unique nature of the nonprofit sector in society; leadership in nonprofit organizations and the governance process. (2) Course 2 topics: The roles and responsibilities of nonprofit organization boards of directors and the challenges in carrying them out effectively. (3) Course 3 topics: The critical factors that impact the ability of the board to govern and how to intentionally change them into positive influences. The Capstone Project: How to help real boards overcome inertia and resistance to change and improve their governance effectiveness in an applied service learning experience.


Week 1: The Board's Role in Planning

Week 2: The Board's Role in Performance Assessment

Week 3: The Board's Role in Fundraising and Resource Development

Week 4: Concept Testing and Application

Week 5: Assessment of Learning: BEAR Peer Review and RAT Discussion Forums