Here’s the deal. The entirety of my professional life has been in or around nonprofit organizations. I’ve been working in the specific area of nonprofit finance now for about 16 years. I feel knowledgeable about nonprofit governance financial management.
My groovy shul is filled with right-brained people. The joke is that you belong to Bet Alef if you’re a healer, a therapist, or an artist. We only have one CPA in the congregation (a synagogue with only one CPA!!), and she’s stepping down as Treasurer. I’ve served on the board for over a year already, because I’ve been heading up family programming (“L’Dor Va Dor”). The orginal deal was that I would step down from chairing L’Dor Va Dor (yay! The job hasn’t been what I had hoped), and take over as Treasurer.
However, it turns out that Jacquie, who is our current VP, did not feel up to stepping up to be president yet. And our current president, Carol, has been there really only as a stop-gap when our previous president, Steven, left for Switzerland in the middle of his term. So they were casting about for a board president.
I said I’d do the President job, but then we’d have to find someone else to be Treasurer. Boy, that’s going to be a challenge, but I guess the thought is, it’s going to be easier to find a Treasurer than a President.
The job starts with the new secular year, 2007. And here’s my QQT for this goal:
For my term as board president, it is my goal to bring the Bet Alef board up to basic standards for 501©(3) governance, to wit:
1. Revise the by-laws, and the Articles of Incorporation, if necessary, so that the official governing documents of the organization reflect its current policy and practice. And then have these submitted to, and approved by, the IRS.
2. Have an annual review of the rabbi. Currently, everyone is too afraid to do this. I think this is no good for us, and no good for the rabbi.
3. Do a salary survey for the rabbi, and document that we are not paying him more than is standard for his position.
4. Write a conflict of interest policy. We could not get IRS nonprofit approval today without one. Consider incorporating it, or portions of it, into our by-laws.
5. Be conscious of Unrelated Business Income Tax. It isn’t that we shouldn’t pursue revenue that incurs UBIT, it’s that we should be aware of it as an issue.
6. The performance and management tools and benchmarks I wanted to have in place as Treasurer—I will give these to our new Treasurer, and ask that we see them as a part of our Treasurer’s report.
Because we haven’t done 1 – 5 on the list above, I am afraid that if we were audited by the IRS, we would be in hot, hot water. It isn’t that we aren’t honestly trying to meet our mission, or that anyone is committing fraud. It isn’t like our rabbi is making gobs of money like some corrupt televangelist. Rather, because we’re all such groovy right-brained people, no one is making sure we’re meeting standards and documenting our practices.
So, this is my goal: that by the end of my term as President, I will ensure that Bet Alef meets the basic requirements of nonprofit governance that apply to all 501©(3) tax-exempt charitable organizations. Even better, that Bet Alef meets not just the basic requirements, but meets the non-required standards of good governance and best practices, in its general and financial management. 6 years ago