Common Not-for-Profit Board Development Models

In our grant management program at Concordia University Chicago, students study a wide variety of topics concerning not-for-profit management, funding, and related processes that impact grant writing and management. In particular, the governance structure of an organization can have a very strong impact.

Three of the most common board development models are the Advisory Board Model, Management Team Model, and Policy Governance Model. Let’s explore them.  


Advisory Board Model:

The advisory board is one of the most popular governance models for nonprofits. Why do you ask? An advisory board model has a sensible goal – to accomplish legal requirements. Often, the founder of the organization is the CEO or executive director. In this model, the founder receives aid and direction from professionals in their community.  These individuals provide knowledge in a particular field or represent businesses that are connected to the organization. The advisory board may serve as an addition to the governing board – a board that oversees plans and advises the organization. In the advisory board model, the members work to ensure to maintain and improve the organization’s status and can be particularly helpful in development.

Management Team Model:

Another popular governance model for nonprofit is the management team model. Organizations associated with the management team model are structured with committees such as planning, accounting, personnel, development, and other critical business functions. The management team model works with accomplishing daily demands and may be supported by an advisory board as described above.

Policy Governance Model:

Among the most popular for organizations is the governance model. In comparison to the advisory board model, this board includes a CEO or manager. Meetings occur systematically because of the formalization of this model. The CEO has duties that partake in decision making and managing the organization.


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