Forging the Board of Your Dreams, Part II: Board Recruitment and New Trustee Orientation

March 15, 2009

by Buzz Harris, Executive Director, The Development Resource Center

Nonprofit boards often struggle to find new members. And they rarely have a documented process in place to tell them how. Let’s eavesdrop on a typical conversation between Liz, a current trustee, and Malik, a potential board member…

Liz: Hi Malik. Thanks for meeting me for coffee.

Malik: Sure Liz, no problem. What did you want to see me about? Read the rest of this entry »


The Nonprofit Clinic—February Edition

February 21, 2009

Forging the Board of Your Dreams

by Buzz Harris, Executive Director, Development Resource Center

Hang around nonprofit staff and you will hear complaints about their boards. “Our board? They’re hibernating,” or perhaps “Help! Get them away!” A high-functioning board of directors is crucial to the success of any nonprofit organization. Members of the board are, legally, the most powerful stakeholders in an organization, yet they often receive little instruction about their role.

Board members are not born; they are taught. Unfortunately there is often very little effort to educate new trustees. Every board has the same prime directive—to ensure that their organization’s mission is carried out. Under this directive there are five key responsibilities: Oversight, Hiring and managing the chief staff person, Fundraising, Strategic planning, and Acting as organizational ambassadors. Read the rest of this entry »