Stages in a Nonprofit Board’s Life Cycle

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The Center commonly gets requests for technical assistance to help build and strengthen Boards. ​

Karl Mathiasen asserts “A board is not and cannot be static.  Instead it must change and evolve as the organization changes and grows.  The roles, functions, and membership need to be altered to meet the new challenges the nonprofit organization itself confronts“.

In 1990 Mathiasen identified three stages boards pass through as the organization matures and his work is still relevant today.

  • Stage 1 – The Organizing/Founding Board
  • Stage 2 – The Governing Board
  • Stage 3 – The Institutional Board

In addition, Mathiasen also states not only does board membership needs to change, it is the key to a board’s health. This resource provides brief descriptions of the three nonprofit board types, presented as food for thought only. Do you agree with them? Do they stand the test of time? Do you recognize your own board in any of them?