How to Choose a Board of Directors

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Choosing your board of directors can either make or break the financial success of your organization. Choose wisely and remember that it's OK to expect results from the people you have chosen to represent your nonprofit organization in the community.

Things You'll Need

  • Invitations
  • Trade Publications
  • Dinner Reservations
  • Know your community. It is important to make constant mental and physical lists of the movers and shaker where you live.

  • Read the business trades in your area and watch for special interests of CEO's and presidents of companies in your area (for example, the CEO of Company X has a wife who has battled breast cancer for years, and your organization specializes in cancer research).

  • Invite them to your organization for a tour. Whether you are a small nonprofit or a large national one, hands-on time with your organization is most important and will make the greatest impact on the person you are trying to get excited about your organization.

  • Talk to your prospective board member over lunch, dinner or a drink. Use this time as you would when interviewing an employee. Get to know the person, including his or her family matters and what the person is passionate about. Don't expect the prospective board member to know everything about your organization on the first meeting.

  • Once you have chosen board members, use them. If you have a board only in name and not in action, your organization will not grow. If you have fundraisers throughout the year, make sure the board members know they are expected not only to attend but to contribute to their success.

Tips & Warnings

  • ALWAYS go for the CEO, CFO, COO of the organization to get rid of the middleman in the process. When you are asking for money or services for your organization, you want the person who can make the decisions quickly.
  • When you are interviewing prospective board members, emerge them in your cause, giving them all the reading they can use about your organization and your cause. Most importantly, encourage questions and make expectations of the board very clear at this meeting.
  • Ask a prospective board member about whether his or her company has a "corporate match" or a volunteer program.
  • Every nonprofit is only as good as its board of directors.

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