Seven habits of highly effective non-profit board members

Are you a friend of a non-profit or a board member? Big job. It’s not just showing up to work an event and selling tickets. There’s a whole lot more. If you don’t have at least three hours a month to spend on your nonprofit, becoming a board member might be a disservice to the organization.

Do this—

  • Know your history and bylaws

  • Come to meetings

  • Share your expertise

  • Take action

  • Look through the monthly check register, statements

  • Be an advocate for your organization

  • Take the long view

All of this seems simple, but there are groups in our county who have gotten into trouble because their board did not follow these simple steps. First, nonprofit board members have a fiscal responsibility of their nonprofit donors’ gifts. So look at the check register/statements monthly and know where the money is going at all times. This includes church boards.

Take a look at the bylaws and embrace the mission of the organization. If the bylaws say meet quarterly—then it’s important to follow those intentions. Embrace the history of the organization so that you know from whence they cometh.

If you have a marketing background, become the public relations team. If your experience is maintenance and building trades, build the booth. If you are a cook, make cookies.

Organizations need to move. Stop sitting around—take a look at the easy steps and make those happen, then tackle the more complex. Get some plans together and move.

Be loyal. This is a small community. We talk and talk. To keep the integrity and value of any organization, share your good works. Board members who bad-mouth their organization, need to fix the organization’s problems or it’s their problem. Either way, don’t stick around and talk trash.

Be a visionary and have future plans. Any board member who isn’t saying, this is our five and ten year plan, needs to get a plan and if the leadership has set future plans, it’s time for you to step up and get one.

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