Board Size and Terms

Posted on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How many board members do you have on your board of directors?  How long can they serve?

The State of Indiana requires nonprofit organizations to have at least 3 members.  Realistically the number of board members will vary depending on the organization.  The average is 7 to 15 members; however, some larger nonprofits may have 30 or more members.  Too few members and the board may become overworked.  Too many and members may not feel that they can meaningfully participate.  No matter how many board members your organization has, you want to make sure that they are actively involved with your organization.

There is no legal requirement for the number of years an individual can sit on a board.  Each organization sets its own term limits in its bylaws.  Common practice is a three year term with the individual allowed to serve two consecutive terms before a required one year leave of absence.  Some organizations do not have term limits as they may be hesitant to lose good board members or are concerned about continuity; however, it is best practice to set limits.  Term limits allow for the organization to bring in new people with fresh ideas to renew the board.  By staggering terms so that not all members leave at the same time, the organization is able to maintain continuity. 

Before making any changes to your board size or terms, you will want to review your bylaws to make sure you are in compliance with them.

Posted by: Carrie Minnich, CPA

Posted in Mission Minded Nonprofits

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