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Nonprofit Executives Say Board Members Are Too Removed From Some of Their Key Responsibilities, According to Survey Findings

Directors Are Often Light on Performance Monitoring, Strategic Input and Making Good Connections for the Organization, Executives Say in Marks Paneth National Survey

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 07/15/15 -- Nonprofit executives recognize their board members' passion for the mission but say directors are removed from some of their key governance responsibilities.

Those are among the findings of Nonprofit Pulse, a national survey of nonprofit leaders by accounting firm Marks Paneth.

On the plus side, 73% of nonprofit executives say their boards "have a passion for the mission," and most (61%) say their boards are engaged but don't micromanage. Further, most (57%) say directors "closely monitor financial expenditures" and have "strong attendance" at meetings (54%).

But when it comes to some specific and sometimes mission-critical activities, board members fall short in the eyes of many nonprofit executives, according to the survey findings. (It included over 100 executives at nonprofits with annual budgets between $10 million and $100 million -- namely Presidents, Executive Directors, CEOs, CFOs, Board Chairs, Treasurers, Development Directors and Vice Presidents.)

Relatively small percentages of nonprofit leaders say directors do the following "very well":

  • Only 15% say the board "closely monitors dashboard performance compared to peer organizations".
  • Only 28% say board members are highly strategic in providing guidance.
  • Only 29% say the board connects the organization to external sources.
  • Only 47% say board members lend their professional expertise to the board.
  • Only 45% say the board closely monitors investments.

In addition, half of nonprofit executives say board members follow the overall performance of the organization but fail to look into specific programs.

"It's probably not an overstatement to say nonprofit leaders love their boards. However, these executives have suggested they would benefit from deeper or more thoughtful board involvement in key areas of governance and strategy," says Michael McNee, CPA, Partner-in-Charge of the Nonprofit and Government Services Group at Marks Paneth.

"One solution to get more productive involvement from boards is member training. But our survey suggests that director availability and cost present significant obstacles," says McNee. The majority of leaders say directors' limited time is a roadblock to training, and 48% say cost is a deterrent.

To receive a copy of the Nonprofit Pulse and/or to speak with a leader from Marks Paneth's Nonprofit and Government Services Group, please contact Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller of Sommerfield Communications at (212) 255-8386 or [email protected].

Methodology
The Nonprofit Pulse: A Leadership Study from Marks Paneth represents the findings of a survey of nonprofit leaders in the United States. The 103 professionals participating in the research include Board Chairs, Presidents, Executive Directors, Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Treasurers, Chief Operating Officers, Development Directors, Vice Presidents and Board members and are with organizations with annual budgets between $10 million and $100 million. The research employed self-administered questionnaires completed online by respondents. The national list of professionals surveyed was compiled by Marks Paneth LLP, the research sponsor, and by Michaels Opinion Research. Interviews were completed during the period of November 12 to December 31, 2014.

About Marks Paneth LLP
Marks Paneth LLP is an accounting firm with more than 550 people, including over 70 partners and principals. The firm provides public and private businesses with a full range of auditing, accounting, tax, consulting, trade remediation and valuation services as well as litigation and corporate financial advisory services to domestic and international clients. The firm also specializes in providing tax advisory and consulting for high-net-worth individuals and their families, as well as a wide range of services for international, real estate, hospitality, media, entertainment, nonprofit and government services clients. The firm has a strong track record supporting emerging growth companies, entrepreneurs, business owners and investors as they navigate the business life cycle.

The firm's subsidiary, Tailored Technologies, LLC, provides information technology consulting services. In addition, its membership in Morison International, a leading international association for independent business advisers, financial consulting and accounting firms, facilitates service delivery to clients throughout the United States and around the world. Marks Paneth, whose origins date back to 1907, is the 35th largest accounting firm in the nation and the 9th largest in the mid-Atlantic region. In addition, readers of the New York Law Journal rank Marks Paneth as one of the area's top three forensic accounting firms for the fifth year in a row.

Its headquarters are in New York City. Additional offices are in Washington, DC, New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester and the Cayman Islands. For more information, please visit www.markspaneth.com.

Contact:
Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller
Sommerfield Communications, Inc.
(212) 255-8386
[email protected]

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