I am often approached by nonprofit agencies asking “do I know someone who would be a good board member?” Agencies struggle with both attracting and retaining “good” board members. I thought in this blog entry I would reflect on what is a” good” board member.
A “good” board member is someone who takes their board service seriously and to the best of their ability attends board meetings, agency events and acts as an ambassador to the community for that organization. Everyone has different passions and it is important to find board members who are passionate about the mission of your organization. That passion will translate into a hard working, dedicated board member.
The board of an organization is entrusted with major responsibilities—keeping true to the organizational mission, securing an Executive Director who can lead the agency and ensuring that all the fiduciary responsibilities of the board – budget, investments, governance, compliance with regulations are met. It is key when thinking about a good board member that there is the combination of passion and diligence.
One source of good board members is of course, organizational volunteers who are attracted to the mission and have worked on behalf of the group. Not all volunteers, however, make good board members. Board service requires thinking creatively and broad thinking.
Another source are of board members is recommendations from current board members—as current board members know what is required we can hope that they will recommend people who can meet that bar.
And finally, pay attention to leadership in other organizations. Someone who has been willing to step up to leadership in one organization may be willing to do so in other organizations.