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Criteria for developing a nonprofit board

This morning in 45 minutes the Adventures In Missions board of directors will have a Skype teleconference board meeting.  They are a great group.  They and their predecessors have guided AIM well for 20 years; but then, that didn’t happen by accident. How do you develop a board of d…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

This morning in 45 minutes the Adventures In Missions board of directors will have a Skype teleconference board meeting.  They are a great group.  They and their predecessors have guided AIM well for 20 years; but then, that didn’t happen by accident.

How do you develop a board of directors for your nonprofit? I’ve developed a number of  boards during my 30 years experience since college. I apply the following three selection criteria in looking for board members.

Criteria for board members
Board members should possess at least two of the three criteria before an offer is extended.  Slots on the board are limited.  Board members should be clear about which two they possess before taking a position.  Offers should only be extended after substantial research and prayer. 

INFLUENCE

  • Each board member has a network of individuals whose lives potentially would be enhanced through an association with the organization.  By sharing the vision, others are attracted to the ministry.
  • Board members should perform a public relations function in their local area.
  • Human resource needs (particularly new board members) can be mobilized through board contacts. Other resources may be obtained through the exercise of board member influence.

INVESTMENT

  • A history of giving before the position is offered.
  • Gifts indicate commitment and establish one as a stakeholder.
  • Time invested establishes one as a stakeholder.

INSIGHT

  • Insight is a function of successful board experience.  Applied to similar situations that the organization is currently facing, it helps staff adhere to vision and maximize effectiveness.
  • Board members must understand who the stakeholders are and what their stake is.  They have a fiduciary responsibility to stakeholders.
  • Insight produces trust.  Trust between the organization’s administrators and board members should be based on a history of a trust relationship prior to tenure on the board.

Next blog on starting a board of directors here.

Comments (4)

  • it was good to meet them. i’d love to hear how a board is actually built. do you hand-pick them? do they get voted in? how does that work? as i understand it, the board is often the executive director’s main accountability. is that right?

  • good questions, Jeff. In a later couple of blogs intended to address those questions and the additional question of how a board functions.

  • thanks seth! this is some great insight! helps me think about how to go about setting something up for my future goals. looking forward to reading the next ones 🙂

  • Seems almost random that you’d mention this, but something I needed to hear. Our board is lacking.

Comments are closed.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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