Boards of Directors love to form committees. Committees can efficiently and effectively complete the work of the board. In some cases, that arrangement and construct makes perfect sense. Here’s one that doesn’t. The Finance Committee.
It’s not that your board of directors shouldn’t be involved in the financial matters of your organization. In fact, just the opposite.
All members of your board of directors should be fluent in the financial and fundraising aspects of the organization. In fact, it is their fiduciary responsibility to do so.
When only a few board members demonstrate literacy on these issues, this can lead to a concentration of the knowledge and responsibility for a critical function. In extreme cases, this creates an unnecessary burden and dependency on a few people and can lead to fiscal crisis and organizational disruption if the leadership is not paying attention to financial matters.
In a healthy organization, the management of money is viewed as an integral and integrated piece of the work of the organization. There is a transparency in decision-making about how money is raised and spent and a set of principles based on the mission that guides decision-making. This transparency and literacy lessens internal competition and results in proactive, forward-looking planning. While there will still be distinct roles and responsibilities, the entire board will have the competency and support to perform their respective roles well.
Consider this an invitation to suggest eliminating the finance committee at your next board meeting. I’m sure you’ll hear a chorus of relief from those overworked and under appreciated committee members.
Just remember to quickly follow with a call for ALL board members to participate in the financial life of your organization. And then provide the needed training so the full board can have fun in their newfound role as financial stewards.