Monday, February 25, 2013

How To Build A Great Board

Unless your nonprofit's board has no term limits, chances are you will see many board members come and go. If there is one thing that is invaluable for boards, it's consistency, and it's up to the governance committee to take the lead in identifying the skills the board needs to continue to effectively do its job.

There are thankfully many resources available to help ensure that new members have the same skills and expertise as their predecessors. In “Nonprofit Management 101,” Vernetta Walker and Emily Heard of BoardSource list six of these resources:

  • Personal networks of business and community leaders;
  • Media articles;
  • Volunteers and non-board member committee members;
  • Participants in leadership programs;
  • Current MBA students; or,
  • Online sites that specialize in board matching or that list board opportunities.
Walker and Heard wrote that, once you have a group of candidates to choose from, it's time to make sure they are truly right for the job. You can do this by making sure applicants are:
  • Passionate about and committed to supporting the mission of the organization;
  • Clear about their potential role and the time commitment required -- share the board job description and board member agreement and answer questions about the work of the board; and,
  • Able to fulfill the expectations you have of them.

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