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Not-for Profit Board term limits?

Our Board has always had term limits set out in the by-laws. After two consecutive 3 year terms a board member had to take at least a year off. I've always felts that this was a good practice and kept the board from turning into a "good-old-boys" club. Our current board is considering doing away with the term limits. Does anyone have some thoughts on this - pros or cons?


Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

The Board that I sit on is actually going to this type of system. It was felt that otherwise the Board becomes (became) stale.

We've had Board members who have been members since the start of the organization (like 27 years).

We are just working out the kinks; where as 1/3 rd of the Board will rotate every 3 years, so when the cycle goes into full swing, 1/3rd of the Board will be replaced yearly.

Someone going off the Board isn't shunted away, they can still contribute (and there is no financial gain for being on the Board; actually a financial drain).

Leslie Karnauskas
Title: CFO
Company: BMGI

Term limits of two three years terms are fairly standard for many non-profit boards and is considered good governance by many. It helps insure that a small group of people who are willing to serve for a long time do not dominate the board. It provides for new blood that can bring new ideas to the organization and keep the organization moving ahead. There are ways to utilize past board members in positive ways for the organization if they wish to stay involved and supportive. They can do special projects, be part of an advisory board, or mentor the current board.


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