A guide to developing a strong board of directors

Your nonprofit's board of directors serve a vital role in the success of your charity. These individuals are responsible for overseeing your operation, according to Nolo. The board decides what is a priority for your nonprofit, defines the mission and helps ensure that you successfully meet your goals.

Finding and recruiting the highest-quality board members for your nonprofit is crucial. Follow these tips while you find, enlist the help of and develop the board members for your organization.

Establish the role 
Before you start looking for a candidate to fulfill a role on your nonprofit's board, the National Council of Nonprofits recommended identifying what your nonprofit needs the most. For example, if your nonprofit is having difficultly finding ways to increase the efficiency with which it accepts donations online, someone with insight and experience creating or drafting online donation forms may be a particularly useful individual for your charity.

Know what skills, expertise and traits you are looking for ahead of time. This will help you find the perfect candidate for the position.  

Ask for recommendations 
If you have an opening for a position on your board, ask current members for suggestions of potential candidates who would fit the role. They can provide valuable insight and help you find the perfect person for the job. 

Even if you are not currently looking for a new board member, encourage your current staff to keep possible hires in mind for future openings. 

Prepare your new board members 
As soon as you decide who your nonprofit would benefit most from, have an orientation for your new board members. Ensure that you properly train them and provide them the tools they need to successfully do their job. Top Nonprofits suggested having all responsibilities clearly written out for your board members so they can reference the materials at any time. 

Build relationships among board members  
It is important to foster strong relationships among the individuals on your nonprofit's board. Organize an event to encourage them to get to know one another better. Poll everyone and ask where their interests lie. Give a few different recommendations and have each board member select their preference. A few ideas for encouraging the formation of new relationships include: 

  • Bowling 
  • Going out to dinner 
  • Hosting a barbecue 
  • Having a potluck at someone's home 
  • Attending a sporting event 
  • Getting tickets to see a play, musical or stand-up comedian perform 

Be open to other ideas that may arise. Remember the purpose of having an event for your board members is to help them build relationships and become acquainted with one another on a deeper level. This can help them trust each other more and build a stronger working relationship, which ultimately benefits the performance and effectiveness of your nonprofit. 

Your nonprofit's board plays a key role in developing your organization and helping promote its success. Select the best candidates and properly train and develop their relationships to ensure they perform their duties to the best of their abilities. 

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