We are on a large nonprofit board at our small local library. There are no term limits and we are trying to figure out the etiquette for asking members who do not participate in any way to revolve off in order to refresh our board membership. What is the nonprofit board etiquette for giving members the boot?
In none of the cases is there evidence of unethical behavior, belligerence, bullishness, or a conflict of interest. It is a matter of them never showing up for meetings or offering any input or funding. You can’t have constructive groupthink when board members don’t show up. It is a matter of ennui, indifference, lethargy, detachment, and tedium vitae.
–Anonymous, New England
When a board member or committee member shows indifference to the nonprofit, the board etiquette dictates the need for an intervention to take place one-on-one between the board president and the person who needs to be replaced. They can meet informally or have a conversation on the phone. Say something such as this:
“It doesn’t seem like a good time for you to be taking on board (or committee) member responsibilities, which is why I’m wondering if it would be better to release you for the time being from your board (or committee) obligation.”
In offering a leave of absence, you are giving them the benefit of the doubt in suggesting that their board (or committee) membership and participation is up for discussion at a later date. Proposing a leave of absence is an opportunity for a gracious exit.
Your nonprofit by-laws should describe the impeachment process, should you need to vote the person off.
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Accepting A Compliment