How to Choose a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit

The Board of Directors for a nonprofit provide governance to the organization, assist in making business decisions, review contracts, plan events, and often much more. The Board of Directors is charged with ensuring that the nonprofit works towards its goals. Selecting a Board of Directors for a nonprofit can be a daunting task at first, but by keeping the following steps in mind, you can identify strong board member candidates that with enhance the organization’s mission.


  1. Image titled Choose a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit Step 1
    Select individuals that share your vision. Running a nonprofit can be an extremely rewarding experience, but the path to that reward is often filled with challenges to overcome. A Board of Directors provides governance to the nonprofit, and supports its efforts throughout some difficult times. Unless the Directors are as invested in the goal of the nonprofit as the founder, they may become discouraged by the roadblocks to accomplishing those goals and therefore be less effective in their role. Those individuals that are acutely aware of the need for your nonprofits services will be in a better position to thoughtfully discuss new ideas and come up with creative solutions to problems.
  2. Image titled Choose a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit Step 2
    Choose those with relevant experience. Simply being interested in the subject matter of the nonprofit is not enough to make an individual a Director. Choose individuals with special skills or unique viewpoints that can assist the board in making complex decisions. Professionals in business, law, finance, and the arts are all good choices.
  3. Image titled Choose a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit Step 3
    Identify individuals that are team players. The members of a Board of Directors work together as a ground in order to govern the nonprofit. The individual Directors will all bring unique skills to the Board, but in order for the Board to get any real work done (and have any votes pass), the board members must be able to work together in a professional manner, compromise, and be able to discuss ideas in a polite manner.
    • Avoid choosing board members who you know do not get along, as their interpersonal conflict will likely effect the rest of the board.
  4. Image titled Choose a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit Step 4
    Choose individuals that can put in the time. Boards of Directors must meet regularly in order to conduct business, share new ideas, and make changes as necessary. The board can only function properly if all members attend the meetings and are willing to put in the time to assist the organization.
    • Serving on a Board of Directors for a nonprofit is a volunteer position, meaning the Directors must be willing to give up some of their free time to assist the nonprofit. Selecting a highly skilled Director that is always busy will often mean that the person will frequently miss meeting and be ineffective within the Board. Choose someone who either has the time to devote to the Board or who is willing to make time while being unpaid for the work.


  • Including professionals on your Board of Directors does not mean that you will receive their professional services free of charge. Remember, their role as a Director is to assist in the governance of the nonprofit, not as attorney, accountant, or tax advisor. Simply including a graphic artist on your Board does not necessarily mean that that individual will be willing to provide artwork to the nonprofit for free.

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Categories: Buying & Forming a Business