posted July 22, 2015

Finding the Right Board Members

by Kristen M. Conway, CPA, Senior Associate 

      For nonprofits, finding the right board members is both a fundamental and difficult task. The role of the board of directors includes overseeing the organization, establishing policies, hiring top management, approving operational budgets and fundraising. It’s important for the nonprofit to find board members who are committed to the nonprofit and its missions. Here are some important points to communicate to potential board members:

  1. Mission of the organization. Nonprofits want board members who believe in and those who will act in the best interest of the mission of the organization. For this reason, the nonprofit wants to ensure any potential board members do not have personal conflicts with the mission. Clear communication of the goal/mission of the nonprofit is key.
  2. Responsibilities. Being a board member for a nonprofit means making a commitment to attend board meetings and being available between those meetings. How often are board meetings? Are board members expected to attend a minimum number of board meetings each year? Are there committees that board members are expected to participate on? If a board member fails to attend a certain number of board meetings, are they removed as a board member?
  3. Length of service. The nonprofit wants to make sure any potential board members understand the time commitment they are making. What is the length of term a board member can serve for? Are there term limits?
  4. Financial commitment. Most nonprofits expect board members to make a financial contribution to the organization. This can be a direct donation by the board member, fundraising or both. The nonprofit needs to be clear on the financial commitment expected from board members to eliminate any ambiguity.

      Addressing the items above during interviews or during the search process can help the nonprofit find the board member who is the best fit for the organization.

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