Want to learn more?
Join us for a free educational webinar to get the most from your marketing and fundraising efforts.
Whether you’re just starting a nonprofit or you’re in the process of rebuilding your board, choosing the right board members is crucial to the success of your organization.
Let’s look at the who, what and whys of putting together your organization’s board of directors.
It’s a legal requirement, to start with. A nonprofit is a corporation, and just like for-profits, they must be governed by a board that’s independent of the founders. The board has the responsibility of hiring and firing the CEO or executive director; even if a nonprofit has a very small staff, it must still have a board.
Founding board members typically know the founder/director of the organization and are passionate about its cause. They may be a group of individuals who all came together to help launch the organization. Overall, the best board members are people who are committed to the organization’s mission and are willing to give time and energy to help it succeed. You want people on your board who are interested in more than attending a monthly meeting or an annual fundraiser.
The state that you incorporate in will set the guidelines for the minimum number of board members, but a typical minimum number is three. The size beyond the minimum depends on what the organization needs from its board.
Depending on your organization’s mission, it’s helpful to form a board with members who have a mix of core competencies that could include financial, marketing, technical, legal and social service skills. Of course, not every member needs to be a professional. You may want to include others from the community, including someone who’s benefiting from your services, a loyal volunteer who’s gone above and beyond, a local celebrity or someone with valuable media connections.
Specific duties vary from from one organization to the next, but in general, a board of directors determines the vision and direction for the organization. The board sets policies while staff members implement those policies. Board members hire the executive director while the ED hires the rest of the staff and runs the organization. Also, board members are typically expected to support the organization financially as well as help raise funds.
Once you’ve established the best board possible, you want them to function at the top of their game. Believe it or not, your website can be a key tool for your board members to provide a centralized location for board minutes, meeting agendas, secure documents and more. Firespring offers beautiful websites and the essential tools nonprofits need to run their day-to-day operations. Start your free trial at firespring.org/trial or call 877.447.8941 to learn more.