Enhancing Board Performance in the Islamic Nonprofit Sector
This study seeks to explore the state of board performance in the Islamic nonprofit sector and to provide recommendations to improve the effectiveness of boards in the sector. Our study focuses on faith-based organizations in the United States which seek to serve the country’s growing community of roughly 7 million Muslims.1 The term “board” refers to an organization’s board of trustees – the body which has legal and fiduciary responsibility toward the organization, controls its assets, and is the institution’s ultimate decision-making body.
Section One of the study discusses the current state of board performance in the sector, exploring how boards are chosen, how board members spend their time, and key challenges boards face in upholding their responsibilities. We find that these challenges often prevent boards from devoting their time to the activities which they “should” be undertaking according to their organizations’ charters and their own aspirations.
Section Two provides recommendations for improving board performance by addressing the challenges discussed in Section One. Most of our recommendations require only modest changes to current governance structures but require significant changes to how board members prioritize activities and spend their time. We believe that a change in priorities, more than for a change in structures, will lead to significantly improved performance of boards (and, by extension, organizations) in the Islamic nonprofit sector.