How To Be A Great Board Member

July 12, 2011

Serving on a nonprofit organization’s board is a great way to learn new skills and expand your network, not to mention getting that warm and fuzzy feeling from helping others. But before you sign on, here are some questions to consider:

  • Is the board you are considering a good fit? You should be familiar with the organization and have a passion for its mission. Visit Guidestar to learn more about the nonprofit organizations that interest you.
  • How often does the board meet and when/where are meetings held? Participation in meetings is important, and often required per bylaws. If you know you can’t make the meetings, don’t agree to serve.
  • What is required of board members? You may be expected to lead a committee, organize an event or volunteer in some other capacity. If you have special skills, such as accounting, law or marketing, you may be asked to put them to use for the organization.
  • Is there a financial commitment? Many organizations have very specific pledge requirements of board members, and virtually all expect board members to make donations. Find out what you will be asked to donate or fundraise before you commit to serving.   

The best board members are true advocates for the organization. They show up to meetings. They give of their time. They participate in fundraising efforts.

To learn more about nonprofit board membership, consider taking part in a board training program. Nashville is home to two such programs hosted by Young Leaders Council and by Center for Nonprofit Management and Hands On Nashville, respectively.

Do you have advice for prospective nonprofit board members? You can share your thoughts in the comment section.

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