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(​This image depicts the flow of leadership from the Board Level to Director to lower levels of management. While this chart may pertain better to a for-profit business, the same general concept can be applied to human services agencies. )

Leadership at Board Level

The establishment of a board is frequently used in both human services as well as the realm of for-profit business. Weinbach (2008) indicates that a board refers to a body of people responsible for the development of policy or a board of directors. Such a board is actually is a requirement for all non-profit agencies. In human services (as opposed to for-profit businesses) board members are not paid. A board of directors makes higher level decisions, is responsible for hiring or replacing the director of an organization and can also answer to the people funding the organization so that it may operate (Weinbach, 2008).

Less frequently used in the world of social services is the administrative board. Such a board consists of people already employed or associated with the organization. An example of an administrative board would be such a board that develops, enacts, and/or enforces policy at a college or university. Students and facualty could potentially be a part of the administrative board and would handle things such as screening out complaints or suspending/expelling students who violate school policies. (Weinbach, 2008).

Weinbach (2008) also discusses advisory boards. Such boards are exactly as their name describes. They can be compiled of experts or the directors of various local agencies in order to make various recommendations with regard to an organizations operations. An advisory board would have no authority in actually developing policy or hiring/firing a director (Weinbach, 2008).

Weinbach (2008) describes various activities boards can be responsible for including:

· Recruit, hire and regularly evaluate the director. Fire him or her as necessary.
· Regularly conduct (with the director) strategic planning for the organization.
· Make policy for the organization.
· Conduct fundraising (through solicitation, “personal contacts,” or their own financial contributions).
· General financial oversight of the finances of the organization.
· Public relations.
· Self-maintenance (for example, avoidance of conflicts of interest) (Weinbach, 2008).

Boards for social service organizations do not always function as they are supposed to. Weinbach (2008) discusses his observations of board activities in the human services realm. Attendance and involvement of board members varies greatly. Lack of attendance may be an issue as board members for non-profits are not paid and it may fall as a low priority for that individual. Sometimes, however, board members can overstep their boundaries and try to micromanage the director or various other activities being conducted within an organization. Board membership may merely be a public form of “name dropping” for the organization. In other words a popular, famous, or well respected person in the community may be asked to sit on a board to give the organization good PR or credibility, while that individual may actually do little or nothing with the board. Many individuals sitting on a board of a human services non-profit organization may have more a business mentality and not fully understand the nature of human services. At times there can be a mix of people that only wish to maintain the status quo while other members want to advocate growth and incorporate the use of technological advances (Weinbach, 2008).

Ideally the board is a good idea and its very nature promotes a democratic and cooperative form of policy development and steering for an agency. However, as Weinbach (2008) has noted, it does not come without its inherent problems; this is especially true in human services where not everyone may be working toward the same objective. As there is very limited money in social services often there are numerous objectives such as working for the purpose of personal and/or professional growth or the satisfaction of helping and advocating for others. It seems to be more simplified in the corporate world where most of everyone is attempting to achieve the same goal, making money.