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How Big Is Your Board?

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, August 2011 Intelligence

Summary: Information from the Association 990 database shows the number of employees at an organization slightly correlates to the number of voting board members.

When it comes to board size, many experts agree that smaller is better. The March 2011 Associations Now cover story went so far as to argue that boards should top off at five people. But some nonprofits have boards that are downright supersized.

According to the ASAE Foundation's Association 990 database, which tracks organizations that report a minimum of $200 in membership dues and at least one paid employee, the average number of voting board members is 42. The median figure should be more familiar to 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6) organizations, though: As many organizations have more than 14 voting board members as have fewer.

As the figure to the right shows, the number of employees at an organization slightly correlates to the number of voting board members. For more information on the Association 990 database, visit

Median Number of Voting Board Members (by Number of Employees)

30 or more staff: 15 board members

11-29 staff: 14 board members

1-10 staff: 13 board members

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