But by far the best way to make sure you have an awesome board is to start by having awesome Board members. This is less critical than some of the others, but ultimately a board member’s style should be compatible both with that of the CEO and with the other board members. Be a proactive advocate for your nonprofit. You probably have at least a vision of what a good board meeting looks like. This is about what makes a GREAT board meeting. Board members are essential to the leadership structure of any nonprofit organization, but they must work in partnership with one another as well as with staff leadership. Instead, board members are responsible for bringing complex, big-picture questions and opportunities to the organization. When finding Board members, keep in mind that they’ll be representing your nonprofit out in the community. Nonprofit Board Members Are People With Excellent Character Qualities. © 2021 Forbes Media LLC. Part of every board members job is to question why things happen certain ways, how things will change or improve, when opportunities and threats will emerge, and what to do about them. Many of the qualities that make board members great are acquired over time, through training and experience, so don’t discredit your potential worth as a board member, even though you may never have served in such a capacity. They take responsibility for their actions and the role that they play in supporting and advancing your cause. The institution and its mission and needs—not the interests of any other party and especially not a board member’s personal interests—should inform the decisions of the full board. Effective Coach, Mentor, and Sounding Board. A good member of the board will not hesitate to ask the hard questions for the constituents that the board servess. MBA courses and avid consumption of Barbarians at the Gates or the like is no substitute for having sweated out a few tricky negotiations. They’re passionate about the mission. Since almost its inception, she has been affiliated with BoardEffect to share perspective on how boards can best implement board management software in the effort to advance their organizations’ mission. Function – It really helps to have board members who have expertise in functional areas import to the business (i.e. Clarify responsibilities. Similarly, it is disappointing when board members don’t fully embrace the scope of their responsibilities. If a conversation happens between the CEO and each director then each side knows what we’re trying to achieve with the in-perso… When deciding which candidate to support and vote for, you’ll want to attend community candidate forums and ask hard questions. 10 keys to becoming a successful board member: How you contribute to the success of a board 2 The role of being a non-executive board member has been dramatically transformed. Please spread the good word. Key qualities of a good board member can be summarized as: Passion – deep interest in the mission of your organization. Effective boards require their members to play a variety of roles, in some cases dipping deep into the details of a particular business, in others playing the devil’s advocate, in still others serving as the project manager. To be truly effective, members of a nonprofit board must engage directly and deeply, and this often includes traveling to the field. “Doing the right thing may cost you a board seat, but that is the price a good director is willing to pay for providing good governance. I am a strong advocate for CEO’s sending materials early and scheduling calls with directors before the meeting. Most board members, of course, are bright people with a wealth of experience. They know they are there as directors, rather than an executive team, and are committed to fulfilling their legal duties. With over 25 years of experience in organizational development, Sonia partners with nonprofit boards and executive leadership to facilitate best practices in board development and governance, strategic planning, leadership transition and succession, and organizational effectiveness. Boards need to develop and enforce appropriate attendance policies, recognizing that time requirements might fluctuate throughout the year and conflict with any board member’s availability in certain periods. 1. Governor—when the Board member is sitting in a Board Meeting and has all the powers conferred on them under the Constitution of the organisation. Bonus Truth. Please spread the good word. While you want your Board members to uphold positive reputations in the community, it also helps if they’re well connected. Judgment is a must. Complete with responsibilities and integral in the process of governance work, the job of a board member is to execute the duties and tasks that correspond with that leadership position. How Can AI Support Small Businesses During The Pandemic? Passion for mission – their passion is sincere and contagious, helping to promote others’ enthusiasm about the mission. So what does make a great board member? This article is really helpful in forming a 'new board member' pack. Whether you expect a great deal or very little from the members of your Board, one thing you should absolutely require is that they’re upright and honorable. Don’t confuse fame or stature with being engaged, motivated, and committed. Organizations are hungry for great board members – it may be the #1 thing I hear from nonprofit leaders. The Board is responsible for recruiting new board members, although it’s best done in partnership with your Executive Director. As founder and CEO of Agile Software (formerly, NASDAQ: AGIL), Bryan led the creation of a new category now called product lifecycle management (PLM). All those topics are covered in more detail in the following posts: Why I Love My Board, Part II, The Good, The Board, and The Ugly, and Powerpointless. : development, sales, marketing, finance, international operations, etc.) Does it have something to do with the content of the meeting? 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