Develop and Manage Your Board Development

Establish board members’ time, interest and financial commitments before they join the board, keeping in mind that many lead busy lives and have many professional responsibilities.  

Give potential board members a position description outlining responsibilities, to make sure it’s a good fit.  Here's a sample position description

The nominating committee of your Board of Directors should meet throughout the year to search for potential board members.. 

Your organization must have a diverse Board of Directors to represent those you serve and gain broader recognition in your community.  Make sure your organization has diverse representation:

  • expertise: legal, fiscal, personnel management, etc. 
  • age
  • gender
  • race
  • religion
  • background: corporate, government or previous experience with nonprofits 
  • client population: representatives of the client population served

How do you keep a good Board of Directors?

Require all new board members to participate in an orientation session before they attend their first meeting.  At or before the orientation session, give them:

Board of Directors Position Description

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Bylaws
  • Funding applications
  • Personnel, fiscal and other board policies
  • Annual reports
  • Names, contact and background information of other board members and key staff
  • List of committees and committee duties
  • Minutes of the last several board meetings
  • Audits, budgets and recent financial statements

During the board orientation, new board members should be able to:

ask questions of the board president and executive director 
tour the facility and staff offices
watch programming in action
get an update of current issues 
review board member responsibilities

Other tips to encourage productivity from the board: 

  • Give specific projects to members
  • Keep board meetings on task and timely
  • Replace unproductive board members quickly
  • Thank board members for their work
  • Consider hosting a half-day or full-day board retreat off-site
  • Establish a policy that stipulates board dismissal for a certain number of unexcused absences from meetings.
  • Re-elect only the board members who have met their responsibilities. 
  • Contact inactive board members to confirm their interest in serving

Grobman, Gary M. The Nonprofit Handbook. Third Edition.

A Board Member Evaluation Checklist 
A Board of Directors Position Description