This month we’ve been helping you learn about how to run nonprofit boards well. Board member responsibilities vary, but we’ve got you covered. In case you missed the two articles in our series, be sure to learn about legal obligations for board members. And, also take a look at our recent post about a few of the things to think about when recruiting new members.

This week, we’re going to tackle a few of the essential elements that all nonprofit board members have to have. So, if you’ve got a great group of people working with you, that’s awesome. We hope you do! Now, let’s take a look at the board member characteristics that will help you ensure that your nonprofit does not have a leadership fail.

Passion for the work your nonprofit does

The first board member characteristics that should be shown by your board members is a passion for the mission. In other words, no one should be serving on your board that does not love the work. When you have a board that’s passionate about the work, then you’re going to advance the mission. Board members will be much happier to help you get the resources you need when they connect emotionally to what you do.

Excellent board member characteristics include time availability

An essential element for the unity of your board is to ensure that its members have the availability of time. Boards have significant responsibilities for your nonprofit organization. And, it’s vital that they have the time to dedicate to the work you do. Now, this doesn’t mean that members have to meet every week. Committees can meet once a month, and boards can meet bi-monthly or even quarterly. But, what members can’t do is miss meetings or show up only once in a while.

Board members support the vision of the executive director

Leadership is a vital aspect of any organization. And, it’s the case for nonprofits as well. So, one of the top things that nonprofit board members should expect from their executive directors is the vision for the future of the group. And, once they’ve signed on, they have to support the concept. Why is vision so vital? It’s important because it sets the tone for the organization. Team members who work at the nonprofit get inspired, but so do donors and supporters. Excellent board member characteristics include a push for visionary leadership.

Fundraising is essential for an excellent nonprofit board member

One of the top responsibilities for nonprofit board members is to ensure that charities have the resources they need. And, one of the top approaches is making sure that a charity has the money it needs to do its mission. So, it only stands to reason that nonprofit board members must take a leadership role in fundraising. For instance, they can partner with a team to come up with excellent fundraising ideas. One of the best strategies nonprofits should put in place is a “give or get” fundraising policy. As a result, that will help ensure that all members give or get a specific financial goal as a leader each year.

Transparency and accountability are vital for modern nonprofits

There was a time when nonprofits didn’t have to prove too much of anything. But, those days no longer exist. Technology and social media have moved nonprofit leaders toward transparency and accountability. Do you have any board members that don’t believe that your group should operate with accountability and transparency? If so, you might want to reconsider their membership. Members of nonprofit boards are leaders. They should always seek ways to make the charity more transparent and accountable to the public. Remember, it’s to the public as a tax-exempt, mission-oriented, organization.

In sum, board member characteristics that are the most important are those that are work to serve the nonprofit. There are additional elements related to personal temperament. For instance, they can include communication and collaboration. Characteristics for board members can also include consensus-building and fairness. But, in the end, the best attributes for board members are those that help advance the mission of the group. Those essentials qualities include transparency, support of the vision, and yes, even helping on the fundraising.


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