How To Choose a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit

Your nonprofit is governed by the board of directors.The nonprofit’s priorities and strategies are established by the board.All board members should be committed to your mission and the board should have the right mix of expertise and experience.

Step 1: The board you choose will be large.

State law tells you the minimum number you can have.You might want more.Your board should be appropriate to your size, according to experts.You might only want a few board members if you are just starting out.

Step 2: You need expertise in certain areas.

Valuable knowledge can be brought to your nonprofit by a board member.To see where you are weak, look at your organization.Directors can mentor your officers.Consider board members who have experience in financial management or accounting.

Step 3: People with relevant experience should be sought out.

You just opened a homeless shelter.It would be great to have a director who ran a homeless shelter.There are people in your community who have experience relevant to your nonprofit.It is helpful to have directors with media and political contacts.They can help raise the profile of your organization.

Step 4: Pay attention to the different types of people.

It will make your board stronger.There are many types of diversity: religion, gender, race, age, professions, skills, and background.Stay alert if you are looking for a diverse board.The board should reflect the population you were organized to serve.If you serve mostly women of color, your board should be mostly white men.Someone under 18 might be a good choice to serve.Depending on your state law, they can serve.Check with your lawyer.

Step 5: Referred to.

You can get referrals for directors from the administrators of other nonprofits.If you need a director who can get the job done, other nonprofit administrators will be able to recommend them.There are board-matching programs in your area.You can find your local United Way or state association of nonprofits at councilofnonprofits.org.Check with BoardNetUSA.If you’re interested in becoming a director, you can create a profile.You can create a profile for your organization.

Step 6: Do you know if potential board members are interested?

You can send an email or call.Take a moment to identify yourself and your organization.You should identify the person who recommended the candidate.Ask the candidate if they want to serve on a board.An email can be as simple as the following.Catherine Johnson is the CEO of Adoption Quest.We help adoptive families in the post-adoption process.Mary Jones said that you have experience in adoptions.She said you have been an adoption attorney for fifteen years.If you’re interested in serving on our board, let me know.We can discuss this in person.

Step 7: If you need to, call your friends and family.

Friends and family make up many nonprofits’ initial boards.This is not ideal.You can set your initial board and then try to get more people to join.The board of a nonprofit is always evolving.

Step 8: A nominating committee can be formed.

Depending on the size of your nonprofit, you might want to create a committee to vet your candidates.Pull in people from all areas of the organization.As slots open, the committee can continue to find new board members.You might not be able to form a committee if your nonprofit is small.

Step 9: You can create an application form.

A form that people can fill out is a good way to screen people.You can request basic information from people who are interested in serving on the board.It was an educational experience.Work experience.Candidates can be asked to submit a CV or resume.Previous experience on committees.The candidate wants to serve on the board.The person can make donations to your organization.Specific skills, experience, or interests.There is a way to create a list.

Step 10: The FAQ is for a board candidate.

Potential board candidates will get important information from this sheet.This information can be printed on the back of your application.The mission statement should be in the FAQ.Your organization’s history.The board members have responsibilities.Candidates are expected to work a certain number of hours each week.Each board member has a tenure.

Step 11: A potential board member should be invited to coffee.

This is the first meeting.Tell the candidate that the meeting is just a chance to get to know each other and that you won’t make a decision by the end of it.The candidate should have a place to meet.

Step 12: Questions about the candidate’s experience should be asked.

They need to be a good fit for your board.You might want a board member with experience in raising money.Ask them about their experience.What leadership roles have they held?What resources can they give you?What motivates them to volunteer?What are they looking for?

Step 13: The candidate should share your sense of mission.

The most important quality is the passion of your directors.They might not be as engaged as they could be.Potential board members should point to something in their background that shows their commitment.They might have worked for a similar nonprofit in the past.

Step 14: Candidates should be impressed with their fundraising responsibilities.

Being a board member is dependent on raising money.Board members should be aware of the amounts ahead of time.Don’t be afraid to be direct.The candidate can decline to serve if they don’t think they can raise that amount.

Step 15: The candidate has questions.

Both sides can ask questions during your meet-and- greet.Explain why you are interested in the candidate as a board member.Do you have any board members that are unique to your organization?If those weren’t clearly expressed in your FAQ handout, explain your expectations and commitments.Discuss what the board member should do in their first year.

Step 16: A background check is done.

To be considered as a potential director, you need to submit to background checks and provide references.You can use a background check to verify that someone has the experience to be a director.You don’t want someone with a bad history to be associated with your organization.

Step 17: Candidates should be offered a seat on committees.

It might take some time before you can offer someone a seat on the board.Offer them a seat on a committee because you don’t want them to lose interest in your organization.You can have candidates serve on a committee.You can observe the candidate when they work on a committee.Before inviting them to join the board, you can see how committed they are to the organization.

Step 18: New board members should be admitted.

The members who met with the candidate can give a recommendation on who to appoint.The board should vote on whether to extend the offer.Large nonprofits may have a process for admitting new directors.They might discuss the candidate in committee, then present him to the entire board, and then interview him in front of the board.Smaller nonprofits might not have enough time.

Step 19: The offer to join should be extended by the right person.

The board should decide who will extend offers.You might be able to get an offer from someone who knows the candidate or who interviewed him.

Step 20: Keep in touch with people who decline.

Some candidates might not serve due to a variety of reasons.You should keep in touch with them because they might join later.Keep them on your mailing list and invite them to events.Ask them to volunteer for your organization if they are worried about the time commitment.When they have more time, they might join the board.

Step 21: New members will be given orientation.

New board members are needed to speed up your operations.You can take a virtual tour of the facilities.A senior member of your board can give a talk about where the organization is headed and the board’s responsibilities.There are more senior board members who can mentor younger members.New board members can ask their mentors questions.They can make sure new members come to board meetings.