How to be a Great Board Member

In Board Development, Evaluations, Strategic Planning by Geoff Burns

Board members are the lifeblood of an organization. Far too often the Executive Director is thought of as the one who directs the whole organization. In reality, it is up to the ED to carryout the policy and execute the mission.

The board directs the policy, plan, and vision. The board is responsible for the legal and fiscal aspects. Board members must be present to be effective, and need to add value to the organization. In addition to these aspects, there are things a person needs to consider before agreeing to be a board member.

Understand that being a board member is not to be taken lightly. Each organization has different expectations and commitments, so exercise due diligence to determine what the commitment will entail before acceptance in to a board member role.

Here are some general pointers to remember that is true for any great board member:

  • Board members add credibility to the board.
  • Board members are expected to strengthen the organization through significant resources.
  • Board members are prepared and keep commitments.
  • Board members speak their minds.
  • Board members are engaged strategically, but avoid operations.
  • Board members have extensive resources and use them to benefit the organization.
  • Board members are thankful for the opportunity to serve the mission.
  • Board members are passionate about the purpose of the organization.
  • Board members serve the community.
  • Board members lead by example in all areas from planning, policy, and fundraising.
  • Board members evaluate themselves and the other leadership.
  • Board members hold themselves and others accountable.

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