Should You Add to Your Nonprofit’s Board of Directors?

Nonprofit organizations are more successful when they are supported by a robust, functioning board of directors. Your executive staff should keep a close eye on how your board members move your mission forward. Is it time to add more trustees to the mix to bolster the board’s effectiveness? As you evaluate your nonprofit’s board – what they have done and consider what else they could do for the organization – here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Establish succession plans and term limits for your board of directors
Has your board established good governance practices, including leadership succession plans and term limits? Your executive board committee’s collaborative relationship, establishing clear succession plans, and board term limits are essential to the long-term success of your nonprofit. Having clarity about who will lead the board is imperative to ensure your organization is never left without strong leadership. If you have yet to develop a succession plan, think about how you can gently lead your board in this effort.

What about term limits – has your board adopted a policy of limiting trustees’ service on the board? This is a deceptively important component of board service. Term limits allow the board to cycle off ineffective trustees with little drama and compels the board to build a pipeline of new prospects. From the nonprofit standpoint, term limits invite fresh perspectives and new eyes to view your organization’s mission and vision. New perspectives can unearth important considerations about service delivery or other aspects of your operations.

2. Consider what you need your board to do or be to advance your mission
Think about what phase of life your organization is in. Are you preparing to expand programs? Then you might then need a board dedicated to fundraising and building out program strategy. Is your board embarking on a multi-year strategic planning process? You may consider rounding out your board with several strategic experts in your field of service. Are you planning for a large capital project, like building a new facility? You may staff your board with experts in construction, project management, real estate, or something related to the project itself. Identifying your organization’s current needs will inform the types of board members you should seek out

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