The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

5 Traits of Great Board Members

A great board member offers so much to your organization, from specialized professional expertise to high-level fundraising. It can be a challenge to build an A-team board—or even know what to look for—so we asked Rachel Muir, vice president of training at Pursuant and founder of Girlstart, to shine some light on the subject.

Here are the five traits Rachel recommends looking for when recruiting for your board.

Great board members hold themselves and the organization accountable.

Quality board members know it’s not just the organization holding the bag. They take responsibility for their actions and the role that they play in supporting and advancing your cause.

They’re passionate about the mission.

It’s that passion that allows your board to be successful in recruiting other people to your organization. You want to put board members who feel a strong connection to your work front and center in all you do since their passion gets other people excited about your mission.

They open doors to donors—and are donors themselves.

Your board’s enthusiasm for your mission furthers your message and compels others to give. Part of enticing new donors includes the board demonstrating their own financial investment in your mission by being donors themselves. Incidentally, having board members who are donors is increasingly important when your nonprofit seeks funding such as grants for capital projects.

They focus on the mission with a view to the big picture.

Sometimes boards can get involved in micromanaging an organization. That isn’t the best use of their time or your nonprofit’s time. A great board leaves the details to staff and volunteers and keeps its collective eye on the big picture to help your nonprofit stay on track.

They aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions.

A great board member is ready and willing to ask questions that could shake things up a bit. These could include questions about fiscal accountability or your organization’s overall direction and future. It’s easy to “go along to get along,” but real progress often comeswhen people are willing to speak up, even when it might feel uncomfortable or means expressing an unpopular opinion.

So, once you’ve found someone who seems like a fantastic board member, what’s next? Set them up for success from the very start. Make sure every board member knows what your nonprofit expects from their service. Rachel suggests using this downloadable board contract that you can customize to suit your organization’s needs.

Want more great ideas from Rachel Muir for helping your board become more engaged and proactive? Download the complete Nonprofit 911 webinar, 10 Tips to Get Your Board Fundraising in One Hour, right now!

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi
Content Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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