The Center for Association Resources


Is an association management firm focused on helping Non-Profit associations succeed in their mission.

Board training…..getting qualified people on the board

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

The governing body of a non-profit organization is its board of directors. Whether a non-profit is at its infancy, or is in transition to becoming a more mature organization or is already an established institution, it is vital for its board to be effective and productive. The non-profit board must understand and perform its legal obligations and significant responsibilities fully. Therefore the non-profit board’s membership should consist of qualified individuals who are either experienced in non-profit board functions or who are willing to proactively learn about the roles and acquire the tools and knowledge to be competent contributors.

Most of the time, individuals serve on a non-profit board because they are passionate about the cause. However, passion alone is not enough to fulfill the many duties asked of each board member. Time commitment is a necessary requirement for attending board meetings, preparing for the meetings such as reviewing proposals, budget or other documents and fundraising. A main function of the non-profit board is to raise money. It is a common policy among non-profits to require each board member to either give or get a certain monetary amount annually. Board members are also asked to organize and host fundraising events or to meet with foundations or government agencies that award grants to non-profits. Time commitment aside, each board member should have sufficient business and leadership skills as the board needs to approve the budget, establish a process to create a strategic plan, hire and evaluate the executive director, and ensure the legal and ethical integrity of the organization. In order to perform the roles and responsibilities dutifully, the board should evaluate its effectiveness and identify areas where a new board member may bring on skills that would be complementary.

During growth periods, a board may need to grow too. Sometimes the need to find new board members arise from resignation or when board members reach their term limit. Recruiting for board members may start with referrals from the current board or from the staff. There are services that match prospective board candidates with non-profit organizations such as boardnetUSA and VolunteerMatch. The tasks of screening and determining a board candidate’s qualifications rest with the board. There should be a process to evaluate the candidate as well as a process to on-board the new member.

As leaders wanting to make a difference, the board must be made up of individuals who have sound business skills, experience with board duties and functions and commitment to developing a strong board by ensuring each board member is qualified to meet the needs of the non-profit organization.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Leadership, Planning, Strategic Planning, The Center for Assocation Resources info, Training, , , , , ,

March 2011

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