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Why Is It a Bad Idea for a Local Chapter President to Serve on a National Board?

In a bid to sustainably expand, Nonprofits may opt to have chapters or affiliates. These branches would maintain the mission and values of the organization while spreading the Non-Profit’s mandate in their locale.

Though a chapter, the branch must also have a transparent and efficacious leader. But what happens if the Local Chapter Board President also holds a significant position on the National Board? How does this negatively affect the nonprofit as a whole?

For starters, a Local Chapter Board President chapter leader holding a position on the national board leaves the organization open to liability if that Local Chapter Board President were to be legally incriminated. It would also cast a bad light on the organization to have the law scrutinize someone in not one but two positions.

Additionally, this could raise a question of transparency in governance and of one chapter having disproportionate power over other chapters. Such an arrangement is likely to present a conflict of interest. The Board Effect shares that a conflict of interest is a situation where “a board director has a barrier that prevents them from being impartial and loyal to the nonprofit organization.” While serving at the local and national level doesn’t directly put loyalty in question, it does leave concerns about impartiality.

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