Every executive director wants an outstanding board to work with, but it’s not always easy to find the right candidates. Having a good list of interview questions is certainly a start, but it is crucial to know what you are really looking for. You are measuring the person’s qualities and what they are able to bring to your organization. It is important to make sure they will be the type of people that will lead your nonprofit toward success.
Here’s how to select outstanding board members for your nonprofit organization:
- Passion: Among the first things you’ll look for in an outstanding board member is their passion for your cause. What personal connection might they have with your purpose? What will drive them? Will the work exhaust them, or invigorate them? Asking questions to evaluate their passion is key to selecting the right person.
- Understanding: Along with passion, you want to make sure that they understand your mission. All the passion in the world won’t help them achieve the organization’s purpose if it is directed in a different direction. Ask them what they understand about your organization and then clarify any misconceptions. You also want to make sure they understand the role they’ll be playing. Find out what they expect and see if that matches with what you will actually need them to do.
- Fundraising Ability: Probably the largest role that board members have in your organization is raising money. Candidates need to be ready to engage in fundraising efforts on a regular basis. If they are not comfortable with that, then they probably won’t be much use to you. However, if they can show that they are absolutely amazing at it, then you have a valuable candidate.
- Skills and Assets: While not as integrally crucial as fundraising ability, miscellaneous skills, assets, and connections can be incredibly valuable to your organization. Does the candidate have PR experience? Do they have strong political connections you can draw on? Do they own a restaurant that could help with a fundraiser? The possibilities are limitless, and they could very well save your organization money. If you are in need of a specific skillset, finding a board member with those abilities can help out immensely.
- Employee Engagement: One more thing to look for is their ability to work with your staff. Are they good at engaging employees in meaningful tasks? Are they trustworthy? Can they become great leaders? Having board members who can work well with your staff can go a long way toward bridging the gap that often forms between board and staff.
In short, amazing board members bring passion, wisdom, fundraising ability, and a variety of skills and assets to your organization. By asking about each of these attributes during interviews, you will be able to select the right people for your nonprofit board of directors.
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