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Important Things to Consider When Building A Board

five person by table watching turned on white iMacBuilding a board requires a lot of thought and strategy.  It is important to get people who are passionate about your mission and can help move your organization forward.  Here are some important factors to consider when searching for board members to join your organization.   

Who are your leaders?

There are key positions that you will need to fill to get your board up and running.  Those positions are President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.  These positions, known as officers, will provide leadership for your board.  Board officers need to go through an election process outlined in your organization’s bylaws. 

You must create job descriptions for all of your board members to set an expectation.  One common mistake that organizations make is electing individuals to positions who do not have the time or interest in serving as officers.  Make sure your board leadership is committed because they will set the tone for the rest of your members. 

Another common mistake that organizations make with officers, is electing individuals that will work hard for the board but do not know how to engage and inspire the rest of the members.  This type of leadership allows the rest of your board members to operate on autopilot.  It becomes difficult for members to speak up and share innovative ideas.

When looking for officers find people who are passionate about your cause, have the bandwidth to serve, and inspire others. 

Who should be on your board?

There are two professions you should always have on your board-lawyers and accountants.  Lawyers can help your organization with contracts and any other legal issues that may arise.  Accountants are important to your board because they can help put controls in place while overseeing the financial health of the organization. 

Having these positions on your board does not mean that you do not need to hire an outside accountant or lawyer. You must have outside legal and accounting assistance.  The individuals that bring the professional skillset of a lawyer and accountant will help support the organization so that you can limit the use of outside services but not eliminate the need for those services.

Other professions that should be considered when building a board include marketing and IT.  Nonprofit organizations work hard to meet their mission and at times forget to create strategic marketing and IT plans.  Marketing can help organizations get the word out about their good work and is a tremendous asset in fundraising. 

IT professionals are very important to an organization.  They can help ensure that you have the proper technology in place and develop a strategy to help your team work remotely, if necessary.

Subject matter experts relevant to your cause are a nice addition to your board.  They can provide your organization with important resources to help you meet your mission.  For example, an after-school reading program may want to consider adding an educator to their board to help develop the curriculum.   

Diversity is another thing to consider when building your board.  Having diverse opinions and backgrounds on your board can help improve your programs and services. 

Are board dues important?

Members of your board need to have a financial responsibility to the organization in the form of dues.  Dues are important because it shows that your board is invested in your organization.  It is imperative to set the financial expectation upfront during the recruitment process. 

The amount of each board member's contribution needs to be determined at the formation of the board.  Board members need to be aware that their contributions are critical to your organization.  Some grants require that board members pay dues for a nonprofit to qualify for funding.  

As an organization, you can get creative with how your board meets its financial responsibility.  For example, if your board dues are $10,000 a year not every member may be able to write a personal check for that amount.  Instead of requiring members to write a check, you could have them host events throughout the year that pays for their dues.  The benefit of having them host events to cover their dues is that your organization gets introduced to more people in their network. 

Need software to help your board members manage events to help them with their dues?  Contact Auxilia today!

Photo Credit:  You X Ventures

Topics: Nonprofit, Donor Relationships, Networking, Board