Board Effectiveness in Small Nonprofits: A Case Study of a Nonprofit with Three-Person Board

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Small nonprofits face unique challenges that often make “best practices” and traditional governance models unrealistic for them to adopt. The governance practices adopted by most small nonprofits, in order to meet their unique challenges, therefore often fall outside of generally accepted best practice governance models. How then, does a small nonprofit judge or measure board effectiveness? The research undertaken for this study, and the study findings themselves, suggest there is a gap between accepted “best practices”, and actual practices in small nonprofits, and that the criteria for judging board effectiveness in small nonprofits also differs. The study concludes by offering recommendations on how small nonprofits with unique challenges and unconventional board models can enhance their governance practices and effectiveness.



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