Date: 02/16/2021
Time: 1 pm eastern
Run Time: 90 minutes including Q & A session
Leader: Brad Lebowsky, MBA, Nonprofit Consultant
Credits: Awarded 1.5 credit hours by HRCI and 1.5 PDCs by SHRM
Price: Webinar $295; Webinar + Download $349 (Share the download with your colleagues)
Audience: Executive directors, board members, senior management, in-house counsel



In theory a nonprofit’s board of directors and its executive director will work collaboratively to advance the organization’s mission. Reality, however, often turns out to be different than theory. A board may see its primary purpose to serve as a check on the executive director. And the executive director, while understanding the importance of the board as part of the overall governance structure, values the board most for its assistance with fundraising. This results in boards and executive directors not working collaboratively, which sends the wrong message to the staff and saps the organization of its energy.

Successful nonprofits typically have boards and executive directors that work well together. Both understand their responsibilities and the organization’s mission and work together to achieve that mission. The board has defined responsibilities and the executive director is responsible for supporting the board in the execution of those duties. This, however, is the minimum. When the two sides truly trust each other, new opportunities will open for the organization. Board members bring new expertise, contacts, and experience to the organization, and the executive director should be able to draw on those skills to improve the management of the organization and to advance its mission.

So, when do things start going wrong? Probably from the beginning. Board members are often chosen simply based on how helpful they will be with fundraising or if they themselves are a donor. Often the unstated criteria for selection is how easily a board member can be controlled. New board members, on the other hand, may be uncertain about their roles and the expectations of the executive director. Some won’t even know the difference between a for profit and a nonprofit organization.

A few simple steps, however, can begin to turn the situation around. First, your directors will need to receive training. Training should be based on the current director’s manual. Beyond this, the executive director should hold private meetings with each board member. During those meetings, the executive director can discuss his or her expectations and a potential role for the board member which goes beyond fundraising and general governance to find ways the board member can really dig in to be of assistance.

Please join Brad Lebowsky MBA, a consultant with decades of nonprofit consulting experience, as he discusses how to build a collaborative relationship between the board and the executive director which includes training, a comprehensive board manual, and establishing meaningful expectations of board members which are fully understood.


During this important webinar Mr. Lebowsky will discuss:

  • How to manage the relationship between the board of directors and the executive director
  • Traditional board responsibilities and committee assignments (e.g., fundraising, reviewing budgets, monitoring budget performance, monitoring programming, selecting the financial auditor, legal compliance, approving policies, executive director performance reviews etc.)
  • Criteria for selecting board members who will make a positive contribution to the organization‒finding the best fit with your organization
  • Making sure the board member understands the mission and is prepared to work to advance the cause
  • Training new and current board members
  • Utilizing your board manual for training
  • Keeping your board manual updated with relevant information (e.g., summary of federal and state employment laws and regulations, organization policies and procedures, pending legal actions involving the organization, insurance coverages, fiduciary responsibilities of board members, committee assignments and meeting schedules, past board meeting minutes, summary of the board’s oversight responsibilities, executive director succession planning, and more)
  • How to communicate the executive director’s expectations to board members
  • Measuring board performance
  • Getting rid of board members who aren’t pulling their weight‒how long should a board member serve?
  • Making committee assignments
  • Developing the fundraising of board members‒setting individual fundraising goals
  • Public role of the board member as a senior representative of the organization to the community and major donors
  • Roles beyond fundraising and governance
  • Board member interaction with senior management and participation in the organization’s programs
  • Settling conflicts between the board and the executive director and/or senior management
  • Recognizing the contributions of individual board members


Brad Lebowsky earned his MBA with an emphasis on nonprofit management specializing in finance and budgeting. Brad has more than 25 years of nonprofit management experience and is a sought-after speaker, author, and nonprofit consultant. His areas of expertise include budgeting, finance, grant writing, strategic planning, board training, retention of donors, employees, volunteers, and professional development. He is also the author of Downsizing: Alternatives for Companies; a resource for those affected, and has produced a podcast, The Career Mentor Podcast, which is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Brad can be reached at As a speaker, author, or consultant his overriding goals are to grow people, communities, and resources for nonprofit organizations across the country.