They aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions. Seeking out new board members for your nonprofit organization can certainly be a challenge. Conversely, a fair number of nonprofit board directors have lots of board experience and do little or nothing with their positions. 3  Many boards write codes of conduct for board members, which include "showing respect and courteous conduct in all board and committee meetings." And that’s because you want the organization to succeed in its mission. In the community, great board members are happy to be ambassadors for the organization, sharing the mission and vision with personal and professional connections in the community as a matter of course. But in any case expectations in this department should be clear. Finding what you need is a lot easier when you know what you are looking for. The cure starts with understanding what a nonprofit board member must do, both legally and ethically. Greatness encompasses many things and covers many areas. You can even post your open board positions to job websites or circulate them with local business associations. Great nonprofit board members are the first to step up when the board calls for appointments to serve as officers, committee chairs or event chairs. A great board member is ready and willing to ask questions that could shake things up a bit. They are: Curious about impact. Many more do a good job as board director. Board members uphold their duty of due care when they are prepared, show up at meetings, ask questions, follow business best practices, etc. Bad board meetings are the result of ineffective or unqualified board members. Professionals in your community want to join your board for a number of reasons. This is what will lead you to respond ASAP to an email from staff celebrating an organizational victory. First of all (and most importantly), get the idea out of your head that there is one route to join a nonprofit board of directors! Outstanding nonprofit board members offer innovative, creative ideas for successful fundraisers. They’re willing to hold themselves and the rest of the board accountable for remaining loyal to the organization’s mission and strive to enhance the organization’s reputation and standing within the community. This post was adapted from Chapter 7 of The Little Book of Boards: A Board Member’s Handbook for Small (and Very Small) Nonprofits.Sign up to be the first to know when the book is available.. Passion for the Cause. I thought that it was only fitting to move onto some strategies for getting yourself onto a board. Tips: Give every new Board member an in-depth orientation which includes fundraising training. They are the public face of your organization and act as your chief cheerleaders and fundraisers. Take Helen Keller International , recipient of the 2014 Kravis Prize, which honors leadership in the nonprofit sector. This will be dependent onyour nonprofit’s needs, like the types of tasks that need administrativepresence to get done. 4  Well-respected nonprofit board leaders understand that their primary role is that of strategic planner and overseer. And sometimes exceptions are carved out for board members who bring other, special skills to the table. Some of the best nonprofit board directors naturally embody strong character traits such as honesty, integrity and unyielding ethics. Tips for Developing a More Effective, Engaged Nonprofit Board The members of your board of directors are your standard bearers, foundation builders and strategic planners. They’re eager to find that delicate balance between collaborating and challenging ideas to bring out the best in the rest of the board’s decision-making. But I’d take a passionate board member with connections and a broad sphere of influence any day of the week. In some cases, it may even be nerve-wracking. Whuuut? Related to this duty, they’re happy to participate in short- and long-range planning and goal-setting. focus on listening; ask naïve questions; serve as ambassadors for the organization It’s easy for boards to become “bored.” In many years as a board member, board president, nonprofit staff person and consultant, I’ve discovered that there are lots of ways to keep your board meetings interesting so that board members want to attend and know that their time and talent is valued. They never shy away from asking a question, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. And curiosity, we think, is the key to becoming a successful board member. They don’t dominate conversations or push their personal agendas. “Compensation” looks very different and special for nonprofit board members. During board meetings, they’re attentive, engaged, inquisitive and collaborative. Respond ASAP to an operational lens bring out the best board members become energized and engaged when they servants. 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