Desirable Characteristics: Choosing your Nonprofit Board Members

December 27, 2016


Selecting your Board Members is one of the most crucial steps in the formation of a non-profit organization. This Board will make decisions that will impact the direction, growth, and goals of the non-profit.  Board members are also accountable to supporters, beneficiaries, and to each other. Due to the authority and responsibility that falls upon the Board Members, it is crucial that the qualifications of potential Board Members are carefully reviewed.  


Some things to consider when selecting your Board Members:


1.  They should share your sense of the non-profit's mission. If a potential Board Member is not passionate about the mission, s/he will probably contribute very little. 


2.  They should understand good business practices. Why? - because the non-profit is still a business entity that has operational, financial, budgeting, marketing, and other business needs. 


3.  They should be willing to donate time or money, or both, to further the mission of the non-profit. 


4. They should be able to attend meetings (in-person or via technology) and recruit others to join the non-profit.


5.  They should be team players and should get along. If your Board can't agree or work together to resolve issues, the non-profit could hit a wall and lose its effectiveness. 


6.  They should be free from conflicts of interests. They should not have ownership or contracts for personal gain with organizations or individuals who enter into a contract with the non-profit. 


7.  The non-profit should have at least three Directors. This odd number prevents a deadlock in a tied vote. It also provides a system of checks and balances with the governance of the non-profit.


8.  You should request each potential Board Member to submit to a thorough criminal and financial background check. Potential Board Members with bankruptcies or economic fraud charges within the last ten (10) years should be put through a more diligent vetting system . 


These are just a few of the issues that you need to contemplate when selecting your Board Members. 


Please talk to an attorney who practices non-profit law for further guidance with your selection of Board Members for your non-profit.


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This website provides general information about non-profits and the non-profit industry. This website does not provide legal advice and the Non-Profit Assistance Corp. is not a law firm. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists or will be formed between you and the Non-Profit Assistance Corp. or any of our Consultants.