How to Develop a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit in Kansas
A board of directors is a requirement for the operation of a Kansas nonprofit entity. This elected group serves as the governance of your organization in everything from finances to the nonprofit’s mission.
Electing the right personalities to your board of directors is essential for your organization’s success. This guide will help you select your first board or grow an established board to better serve your nonprofit.
Check out our other guides for a look at how to form a nonprofit organization or how to select a board of directors in other states.
Recommended: Northwest can help form your nonprofit for you for $29 + state fees.
Kansas Board of Directors Requirements
The Kansas Corporations Statute, Section 17-6301, lays out some of the board of directors requirements:
(b) The board of directors of a corporation shall consist of one or more members, each of whom shall be a natural person. The number of directors shall be fixed by, or in the manner provided in, the bylaws, unless the articles of incorporation fixes the number of directors, in which case a change in the number of directors shall be made only by amendment of the articles. Directors need not be stockholders unless so required by the articles of incorporation or the bylaws. The articles of incorporation or bylaws may prescribe other qualifications for directors. Each director shall hold office until such director's successor is elected and qualified or until such director's earlier resignation or removal. Any director may resign at any time upon notice given in writing or by electronic transmission to the corporation. A resignation is effective when the resignation is delivered unless the resignation specifies a later effective date or an effective date determined upon the happening of an event or events. A resignation which is conditioned upon the director failing to receive a specified vote for reelection as a director may provide that it is irrevocable. A majority of the total number of directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business unless the articles of incorporation or the bylaws require a greater number. Unless the articles of incorporation provide otherwise, the bylaws may provide that a number less than a majority shall constitute a quorum which in no case shall be less than 1/3 of the total number of directors except that when a board of one director is authorized under this section, then one director shall constitute a quorum. The vote of the majority of the directors present at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the board of directors unless the articles of incorporation or the bylaws shall require a vote of a greater number.
Putting It Into Practice
A Kansas nonprofit’s board of directors works as a support system for the organization. Its duties include financial management, structural guidance, the hiring of executive directors, and much more. While the board typically isn’t involved in day-to-day operations, it plays an active role in maintaining the well-being of the organization as a whole, its effectiveness, and its financial health.
A 501(c)(3) eligible nonprofit board of directors in Kansas MUST:
- Have a minimum of three board members
- Assign at least one officer to maintain detailed records of meetings
What Is the Function of the Board of Directors?
The Corporations Statute, Section 17-6301 establishes the role of the board of directors in the following manner:
(a) The business and affairs of every corporation organized under this code shall be managed by or under the direction of a board of directors, except as may be otherwise provided in this code or in the articles of incorporation. If any such provision is made in the articles of incorporation, the powers and duties conferred or imposed upon the board of directors by this code shall be exercised or performed to such extent and by such person or persons as shall be provided in the articles of incorporation.
Putting It Into Practice
Before forming your Kansas nonprofit’s board of directors, it's important to understand the role this group plays in the success of your organization. The general responsibilities of a board include:
- Enforcing the Organization’s Mission and Purpose: The foundation of any nonprofit is its mission so a board’s chief task involves upholding that mission as well as the organization’s purpose.
- Hiring a CEO/Executive Director: While your board of directors plays an instrumental role in the success and effectiveness of your nonprofit, it doesn’t participate in the daily operations. That makes it vital for the board to hire a CEO or executive director who will provide effective, day-to-day leadership.
- Incorporating New Members: A board also must source and incorporate new board members capable of effectively upholding the organization’s values.
- Assessing the Allocation of Funds: Careful distribution of assets within an organization ensures all areas receive adequate funding and thus supports the success of each aspect of a nonprofit’s mission.
- Generating Funds and Ensuring Financial Stability: Alongside verifying the appropriate distribution of funds, the board also has a responsibility to generate more assets to create a solid foundation for the nonprofit’s long-term financial stability.
- Supporting and Evaluating the CEO/Executive Director: A nonprofit’s board of directors not only serves as a support system for the CEO/executive director, but also assesses their job performance.
- Ensuring the Organization Follows Legal and Ethical Practices: It comes as no surprise that upholding the ethics of a nonprofit is essential to its success in achieving its mission. In this case, the board’s task involves ensuring the organization consistently follows legal and ethical practices across its operations.
- Generating a Positive Public Image: Building trust within the community not only attracts private investors, but also develops credibility among community members who may use the services your organization offers.
- Acknowledging and Addressing Conflicts of Interest: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires nonprofits to develop a written conflict of interest policy that the organization’s board of directors will enforce. This prevents any board member from using their position in order to serve their personal interests.
Additional Legal Responsibilities
In Kansas, a nonprofit’s board of directors also must fulfill certain legal responsibilities. The three most common legal responsibilities of a Kansas nonprofit include duty of care, duty of loyalty, and duty of obedience.
- Duty of Care: This involves making appropriate use of the assets held by the organization. Specifically, board members must ensure the use of such funds promotes the good of the organization and those who benefit from its services.
- Duty of Loyalty: This involves acknowledging and disclosing any conflicts of interest as well as making decisions that benefit the nonprofit as a whole rather than a single board member.
- Duty of Obedience: Board members also must ensure the nonprofit adheres to all applicable laws and regulations while operating under the mission and bylaws that form its foundation.
Developing Your First Board of Directors
If you’re still in the process of developing your Kansas nonprofit entity, choosing the right board members is key to ensuring the effectiveness and stability of your organization. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Solidify Roles. Designating functional roles for individual board members — outside of your elected officer’s roles — can improve the board’s overall effectiveness and functionality.
- Develop and Commit to Bylaws. Creating a set of bylaws to uphold the mission of your organization creates a strong foundation to guide board members’ decision-making. In addition, state law may require Kansas nonprofits to develop bylaws.
- Prioritize Your Mission. Another beneficial strategy when choosing board members is to seek candidates with a passion for your organization’s mission and goals.
- Acknowledge Any Conflicts of Interest. Conflicts of interest will inhibit a board member’s ability to effectively uphold the values and best interests of your organization. That makes it extremely important to assess potential or existing conflicts of interest when evaluating board members for your nonprofit.
Filling Board Vacancies
When electing new members to your Kansas nonprofit’s board of directors, focus on finding individuals dedicated to your organization’s mission. Here are a few tips to consider as you begin your search:
- Look to Your Volunteers. Volunteers who stand out can make excellent additions to a board of directors. These individuals already dedicate their time and energy to your organization and most likely will bring that same dedication and goodwill to your board.
- Explore Candidates Among Loyal Donors. Donors represent another group to consider when electing new board members because they create the financial foundation for your organization. That means they have a track record of dedicating time and money to ensuring the success and sustainability of your nonprofit.
- Expand Your Search. Diversifying your search to include outside groups can prove effective in creating a well-rounded board of directors.
What Are Elected Officers?
Section 17-6302 further outlines the election of officers to the board:
((a) Every corporation organized under this code shall have such officers with such titles and duties as shall be stated in the bylaws or in a resolution of the board of directors which is not inconsistent with the bylaws and as may be necessary to enable it to sign instruments and stock certificates which comply with K.S.A. 17-6408 and K.S.A. 2021 Supp. 17-7908(a)(2), and amendments thereto. One of the officers shall have the duty to record the proceedings of the meetings of the stockholders and directors in a book to be kept for that purpose. Any number of offices may be held by the same person unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws otherwise provide.
Putting It Into Practice
Elected officers are members of the board with assigned roles focused on regulating the day-to-day activities of the organization and maintaining its success. Each position should have a clear role defined in the organization's bylaws.
The board of directors is not required to nominate elected officers in Kansas. However, elected officer roles can not only prove helpful in ensuring the effectiveness of the board of directors, but also provide a foundation of leadership.
The four elected officers required for nonprofits in Kansas include:
- President: As the leader of the board, the president commonly has authority over key activities like signing contracts and hiring or firing employees. This role differs from the CEO/executive director position, which the board typically hires after assigning the president role.
- Vice President: The vice president serves as support for the president. In many cases, the vice president moves into the role of president after the current president completes their term.
- Treasurer: The treasurer is responsible for evaluating the financial health of the organization by keeping track of receipts and spending.
- Secretary: This individual serves as the organizer of the board meetings, which may include scheduling the meetings, informing board members of the meeting schedule, planning the meeting agendas, and recording meeting minutes.
Forming a board of directors is an essential part of creating and operating a nonprofit in Kansas. Ideally, this group will advocate for your organization's best interests in everything from finances to public relations. To form or expand a board of directors that will best represent your nonprofit’s needs, search for members who will uphold your organization’s mission and purpose.