Creating that Ever-Elusive Working Board

by | Oct 18, 2017 | Board Development

Fall is officially here and for many our nonprofits this season signifies a “changing of the guards.” Our more experienced board members prepare to rotate off as new ones prepare to take their place at the table.

Sounds simple, right?

Kudos to any working board that has their leadership process functioning like a well-oiled machine.

For the rest of us who find ourselves scrambling to fill empty board seats at the last minute, it might be time to take a closer look at our board building processes. If the goal truly is to create an “A-list” working board, it is crucial to evaluate how our organizations currently select, approves and engages board members.

A mini S.W.O.T. analysis focused strictly on your “board building process” is an extremely helpful starting place. Consider the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that the organization’s current board faces. 

What policies or procedures can your organization adopt to strengthen each of the following ten steps in the BOARD BUILDING process?

1. Recruit new/qualified individuals. How do you know who to recruit? Do you have an ongoing board matrix that helps you learn who is on the board and who you need to be searching to fill seats?

2. Screen prospective working board members through an application process that asks relevant questions such as their time availability, their other commitments, previous board member experience, etc. Make sure they are aware of their job description prior to extending an opportunity for them to serve. Need a job description for board members, here is one you can tweak and make your own.

3. Educate board members about roles, responsibilities, and expectations of working board members. Do you have an orientation process for new board members? Here is a great toolkit you can put together to help them learn more about your organization, their role and how the board works.

4. Nominate candidates who are the best match for the organization’s needs/mission. Need help crafting or tweaking your mission and/or vision? Check out this great activity you can do with your staff and board.

5. Approve nominees

6. Cultivate board members as volunteers and fiduciaries of the organization

7. Engage board members in the mission, governance, and development/fundraising of the organization. Does your organization have an engagement form to assess how and when board members would like to get involved? If not, here is a sample from our Free Stuff tab that you can customize for your organization.

8. Strengthen Leadership within each class of board members.

9. Increase Impact of individual board members each year they serve.

10. Succession Planning to ensure that the board and organization can thrive in the face of transition.

As you work to grow your organization, be sure you are considering your board in this process. They are a key component in the success you will have. Check out some related articles and Videos:

10 Ways To Get Your Board Involved in Fundraising

How Board Term Limits Help Keep your Board from Becoming Stagnant

Selecting Board Members -Where to Start

Have a great rest of the week!
Mandy & Marie!

Get Your Free Strategic Planning QuickStart Kit


Align your board and staff, clarify your vision, and grow your impact - starting TODAY! 

It's on it's way! Are you ready to get started? We hope so because the download link for the checklist is going to hit your inbox any second now.