Fast Facts About Boards

Quick answers to your basic questions about boards

Unlike private businesses, nonprofit organizations are not “owned” by anyone. Instead they are “owned” by the community: chartered by the government to serve a public purpose. The board of directors represents the community’s interests. The board, acting as governors or trustees, is charged with protecting the nonprofit organization’s public purpose. Nonprofit boards and boards of private corporations are similar in that both are responsible for the organization’s success.

How a  board functions
By law, the board of a nonprofit organization must act as a group. Decisions must not be made by individual board members, but by the whole board or a board committee authorized to act on behalf of the entire board. Boards generally make decisions using a majority vote or consensus. The organization’s bylaws should state the vote required for formal board action.

Required number of board members
California law states that a CA nonprofit must have directors and officers. Legally, a CA nonprofit corporation can operate with one director, and two officers: a president or board chair, secretary, and chief financial officer (two of these can be combined, e.g. president/secretary or secretary/cfo, but president and cfo cannot be combined.) Meeting these legal minimums makes you legal, but probably not viable.

Recommended number of board members
There is no agreement on the perfect size for a board. Nine to 15 members are often quoted numbers, but some boards are much larger. However, experts agree that an active, involved board made up of committed people from the community is essential. What’s the Right Size for the Board? offers advice from a nonprofit board expert.

Paying board members
California law allows board members to receive “reasonable compensation.” However, this is not standard practice within the nonprofit community. National charitable standards state that board members should be volunteers with occasional reimbursements for actual expenses of attending meetings.

Board members as employees
Under California law, no more than 49% (in plain language, less than half) of the board of directors of a nonprofit public benefit corporation can be employees. Again, while this is legally permissible, it is a rare practice to have employees serve on the board of directors, with the possible exception of the Executive Director. The Center advises that organizations not have any employees serve on the board so as to not confuse the issues of authority and supervision.

Removing board members Occasionally a board member needs to be removed.  Here are Four Ways to Remove a Board Member.

Youth on boards
Under California statutory law, there is no minimum age requirement for directors of a nonprofit corporation. The relevant statute states only that the Bylaws of the corporation may contain any provision regarding the qualification of directors. CAL. CORP. CODE § 5151(c)(3).  Read more here: Youth Board Members: Can minors serve on a nonprofit board? at the Nonprofit Law Blog.


Sublime Digital Marketing Group

About Ken

Ken Henderson is a seasoned entrepreneur and digital marketing professional, presently serving as the CEO of Sublime Digital Marketing Group, a respected marketing agency located in Rancho Cordova, California.


Boasting over two decades of industry experience, Ken has cultivated expertise in numerous facets of digital marketing, such as website design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), copywriting, communication, CRM systems, and advertising on platforms like Facebook and Google. As a certified Google Partner and Zoho Partner, Ken’s knowledge is both extensive and cutting-edge.


Alongside his marketing abilities, Ken has delved into automation and artificial intelligence applications, integrating them into his collaborations with businesses and non-profits. His work with a wide array of clients, including non-profits, law firms, property managers, political campaigns, private schools, and small to medium businesses, has aided them in achieving their marketing goals.


Beyond his business accomplishments, Ken is an active community leader. He sits on the board of the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce, contributing to the shaping of the region’s economic outlook, and is also a special advisor to MLK365, a group dedicated to making positive impact in communities. Moreover, he is a graduate of the prestigious Rancho Cordova Leadership Program and also a Certified GENEIUS, attesting to his remarkable leadership qualities.


Ken’s speaking engagements provide valuable insights into digital marketing, automation, and artificial intelligence and creative finance for businesses. His goal is to encourage others to embrace innovative marketing strategies and utilize technology for business growth.


Social Venture Partners

About Brad

Brad brings over 20 years of executive leadership in both the for-profit and non-profit sector. As a technology entrepreneur, he has helped to launch several enterprise software startups, one of which he led as Co-Founder and Vice President from 2002 through to its exit in 2016. He brings a people-centered style of leadership that leads to healthy organizational culture. He enjoys developing systems, strategy, and structure that set the foundation for organizations to scale and grow. Brad is considered a purpose-driven person and always seeks to “start with why” in everything he gets involved with. 
Beyond the enterprise technology roles he’s held, Brad was also instrumental in launching several community-based social entrepreneurship endeavors. He is the founder of the Orangevale-Fair Oaks Food Bank, Orangevale Food Bank Farm, HART of Orangevale and Fair Oaks, and the Big Day of Service. He also served as President of the Orangevale Chamber of Commerce from 2018-2022 where his impact led to a re-energized business and nonprofit membership community. Under his leadership, the Chamber secured $10M funding from SACOG for Greenback Lane streetscape improvements, 3x membership growth, 5x budget growth, formation of the Orangevale Community Council, and a more vibrant culture throughout the community. Brad currently serves on the boards of several other nonprofit organizations in the Capital Region. 
Brad currently serves as the Executive Director for Social Venture Partners of Sacramento, an organization seeking to build nonprofit connections and capacity by bringing together leaders from the business and nonprofit community. He oversees partnership growth strategy, daily operations, portfolio engagement, and major events such as the annual Fast Pitch social innovation program.
In 2018, Brad and family also launched a 10-acre u-pick flower farm called Heirloom Acres Farm. Thousands of people visit their farm all summerlong for flower u-pick events, and they also host a holiday barn market and have Christmas trees available in December. 
Brad’s superpower and life mission is about bringing people together for a purpose. He believes our community will be stronger when leaders are connected and engaged. 



About Debbie

Debbie is the founder and Executive Director of Health Education Council. Her two primary areas of expertise are cross-sector coalition building and reducing health disparities in diverse low-income communities.



About Michelle

Michelle Odell is the Director of Public Affairs for Kaiser Permanente in South Sacramento, where she oversees all aspects of Public Affairs including community relations, government relations; community health and community benefit planning; and internal and external communications, including media relations.

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Kristi Rolak is Sales Director in Sacramento for One Workplace, a full service commercial interior furnishings company headquartered in Santa Clara and serving greater Sacramento.