Top 10 Things to Look for in New Board Members

From Gail Perry’s Blog

Here is Gail Perry’s list of top qualities to look for in Board members for non-profit organizations (warning – it may not be a politically correct list!):

1. A person of influence and connections. 
Above all, I like to have people who know other people and can make things happen. My favorite board member is someone who can pick up the phone and help us make a key connection. This type of board member can open new doors for us and help us network at a new level. They know people with resources, and people who can influence others on our behalf.

2. Deep passion for our work.
Do they have the passion and care for our mission? If they do not, they may bring a clinical approach to our work and miss the heart of what we do.

3. Time and willingness.
Some of the most wonderful people simply don’t have the time. Even if they are wildly passionate, they may be on the road all the time or stacked up with family and work commitments. Even the most passionate board member is unhappy if they feel that they are not fulfilling their commitment to the organization. So be sure they have the time.

4. Deep pockets and/or access to deep pockets.
I want someone who can open fundraising doors for us. Who do they know? What is their own giving potential? Sorry but I like people on the board who can write the big check. Not everybody on the board needs to be a deep pocket, but you certainly need some of them on your board.

5. Current donor or volunteer. 
Let’s hope your new board members are already donors. If they are not, I’d think twice! And a loyal current donor might be just the passionate, knowledgeable, capable person your board needs. 6. Reputation for balanced, sound, deliberate thoughts and actions. How are her leadership skills? Is she a good team player? Can she handle ambiguity or robust discussions? I like very much to know how someone operates within a group before I bring them into the mix. You’ll be smart to vet them this way too.

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