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9 Clear Ways To Build Up Your Nonprofit Board of Directors

9 Clear Ways To Build Up Your Nonprofit Board of Directors

Your nonprofit's board of directors plays a critical role in determining the success of your organization. A strong, effective board can provide guidance and support that help you achieve your mission. Conversely, a weak or ineffective board can be a major obstacle to your success. The truth is that most board members fall along the one-third rule: A third are contributors, a third are participants, and a third are pretty much dead weight. 

That's why it's so important to take the time to carefully build up your board of directors. A reminder that there are awesome nonprofit board experts ready to help you find your next great board member.

The following nine tips can help you create a strong, effective board that will help your nonprofit thrive:

1. Define the roles and responsibilities of your board members.

The first step in building an effective board is to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each member. What are their specific goals and objectives? What authority do they have? What are their duties and obligations? When everyone understands their role, they can work together more effectively.

2. Recruit members with diverse skills and experiences.

Your board should be composed of individuals with a variety of skills and experiences that can benefit your nonprofit. For example, you might recruit someone with financial expertise to help with budgeting or someone with marketing experience to assist with promotional efforts. The more diversity you have on your board, the better able you are to make informed decisions about your nonprofit's future.

3. Look for individuals who are passionate about your mission.

It's also important to recruit individuals who are passionate about your nonprofit's mission. These individuals will be more likely to stay involved and dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. Look for people who have personal experiences that relate to your mission or who have expressed interest in the work you do in the past.

4. Train new members on their roles and responsibilities.

When you bring new members onto your board, be sure to provide them with training on their roles and responsibilities. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page from the start and will minimize confusion down the road. You might consider holding an orientation session or providing written materials that outline expectations for board members.

5. Communicate regularly with your board members.

It's important to keep lines of communication open between you and your board members. Make sure you're meeting regularly to discuss your nonprofit's progress and to solicit feedback from your directors. You might also consider sending out regular updates or creating a board portal where members can access information about your organization.

6. Encourage open discussion and debate.

Encourage open discussion and debate amongst your board members. This will help ensure that all voices are heard and that everyone has a chance to share their ideas. It's okay if there are disagreements – in fact, it can be beneficial, as long as the discussion remains respectful and constructive.

7. Seek input from your board members on decisions affecting the organization.

Your board members can provide valuable insights on decisions affecting your nonprofit. When possible, seek input from them on major decisions such as hiring new staff, approving budgets, or launching new programs. Their perspectives can help you make informed choices that are in line with your mission and goals.

8. Delegate tasks and responsibilities to board members based on their skills and interests.

Make sure you're taking advantage of the skills and interests of your board members by delegating tasks and responsibilities accordingly. For example, if you have a member who is particularly interested in marketing, ask them to help develop a promotional strategy for your next fundraising campaign. Or if you have a member with financial expertise, ask them to review your annual budget before it's presented to the full board for approval.

9 . Evaluate your board's performance on a regular basis.

Make sure you're taking the time to evaluate how well your board is functioning on a regular basis. This will help you identify any areas that need improvement  From there, tweak processes or make changes to ensure continued success year after year. By following these tips, you can build a strong, effective board of directors that will help your nonprofit thrive.


Nonprofit boards often determine the success or failure of even the best nonprofits. Take the time to build yours the right way, set expectations early and remind often. Consider finding a  nonprofit board expert on Nonprofit.ist.