Nonprofit organizations, their governing structures, boards of directors, and their newest constituency, members who represent the public at large, are the subject of this book. In recent years, new mechanisms have been developed to link citizens with government and with diverse policy-making entities. Earlier, it was assumed that citizens had little interest in policy deliberations, and responsibility for public needs was best left to the experts. Many citizens now believe that they have a legitimate right to infl uence how power is exercised in public organizations.
Koff constructs a demographic profi le of public members, their activities, and their opinions about board membership. She also catalogues the perspectives of executive directors about public members, identifi es specifi c problems related to public participation, and suggests strategies to help resolve them.
How effectively these bodies perform, and how well they respond to the public, are in part determined by the talents and activities of their members. All of these members, especially public members, need appropriate tools to be able to perform in a superior fashion. Despite the importance of governing bodies to an organization's performance, there has been little examination of board members in general and specifi cally of public members. This is the first book-length study on the subject.