Building an Effective Non-Profit Board

Every non-profit leader dreams of the ideal Board of Directors – dispensing useful advice, promoting the mission, and raising funds. In reality, it is a challenge to make that dream come true. What is the “magic formula” used by non-profits to build an engaged and supportive Board? Here are three proven strategies:

1. Recruit for Expertise and Community Contacts

Non-profits rely on knowledgeable and experienced Board members for guidance and direction. To get the right mix, non-profits should list the knowledge and experience they need, such as legal and financial. Then, identify and recruit potential Board members who meet those needs. Potential Board members should also have contacts within the community, and be willing to leverage those community contacts for your non-profit.

2. Communicate Director Responsibilities

Be clear about Board member time commitments and other expectations. Document Board member job descriptions, with particular attention to the role of the Board Treasurer. This helps with conducting clear and detailed conversations about Board membership. It is especially important to clarify expectations for raising funds or bringing other resources to the non-profit.

3. Orient and Train Board Members

Regardless of their background or years of involvement with your non-profit, all Board members should have a formal orientation to help them consistently represent the organization address questions about your non-profit from donors, community members, and others. Board members should also get fund raising training so they feel comfortable and confident when asking for donations on your organization’s behalf.

Building an effective Board of Directors for your non-profit takes planning and time. Being clear about your needs, communicating those needs, and training comprise the “magic formula” for recruiting the right Board members. Your non-profit’s donors, clients, and community will be glad that you did!