Future Board Member

Serving on a board is a wonderful way for you to support a cause that you care about.

Board members make sure the work of nonprofit organizations is stronger, more effective, and more impactful.  Board members help organizations operate responsibly, plan carefully, and dream big.

And, by serving on a board, you will have the opportunity to develop and grow as a leader, cultivate new skill sets, and expand your network of peers, professionals, community leaders, and community thought leaders.

Does this sound like something you want to do?

BoardSource can help.

We have resources to help you evaluate your readiness to serve on a board, and then we will walk you through the process to find the right opportunity.  We’re here to support you in your efforts, and to ensure that you have the tools and resources you need to succeed.  The following process walks you through how to get started in board service.

Getting Started in Board Service

  1. Is nonprofit board service right for you?

Serving on a board can be an amazing experience, but it is also demanding. So, before joining a board, ask yourself if board service is right for you. Here are four common questions to consider.

  1. Find your passion and organizations you want to help.

If you’re going to dedicate the time and energy that board service requires, you want to ensure that you’re doing it for a mission and organization that you really care about. Here’s some guidance on how to identify your passion and the types of organizations that best suit your interests, availability, and personal goals.

  1. Identify board opportunities with these organizations.

There are many local, regional, and national matching programs and sites that list available board service opportunities but don’t be afraid to reach out to those organizations that interest you. There is power in knowing what you want and going after it. However, it is important to always learn as much as you can about the organizations before you express your interest in serving on the board.

  1. Connect with the board.

Each organization handles its board recruitment a little differently, but, in general, there are three basic steps to the recruitment process: (1) express interest, ( 2) interview, and (3) evaluate the fit.

  1. Prepare to be an exceptional board member.

Now the hard work begins! Before attending your first board meeting, you should educate yourself on the role and responsibilities of board members and attend the organization’s board member orientation. Gather some additional information and tips on how to be an exceptional board member.

Resources for Future Board Members


Are Your Board Committees Working Well?

101| Community resource. Perhaps it’s time to revisit your board structure. No board’s committee structure should be set in stone. Every board should pay close attention to the needs of the board and the organization and make sure its work groups are meeting those needs.

Eight Ways to Increase Your Board's Ability to Work as a Team

301| Community resource. Board work is, fundamentally, a collective effort, and it requires a unique kind of teamwork among members. This resource presents eight tactics you can utilize to increase your board’s ability to collaborate and work as a team.

Six Characteristics of Effective Boards

301| Member-only resource. After interviewing several hundred boards and chief executives and surveying over 1,000 more, researchers Thomas Holland, Barbara Taylor, and Richard Chait discovered six specific characteristics and behaviors that distinguish strong boards from weak boards

Five Leadership Transition Types

101| Community resource. When an organization faces a chief executive transition, the first step the board must take is to identify what type of transition the organization is facing.

Every Board’s Must-Have Documents

101| Community resource. Even the most organized, responsible, and amiable board needs to document its activities, internal rules, and processes. Here are the various documents to which your board needs to pay attention.

Checklist of Board Roles and Responsibilities

101| Community resource. Basic board roles and responsibilities are the foundation for a successful board. BoardSource has designed this checklist so you can quickly remind yourself of your key responsibilities.

Be an Exceptional Board Member

Your hard work doesn’t stop once you’ve joined a board. Before attending your first board meeting, you should educate yourself on the roles and responsibilities of board members and attend the organization’s board member orientation.

Connect with the Nonprofit Board

Each organization handles its board recruitment a little differently, but, in general, there are three basic steps to the recruitment process. Learn what to consider when making your decision and how to move forward in the recruitment process.

Locate an Open Board Position

After you’ve decided which mission area to focus on and which type of organization best suits your interests, availability, and personal goals, the next step is to begin identifying board service opportunities. These resources can help you get started.

Find Your Passion

If you are interested in board service, the first step is to identify the types of organizations that interest you and learn what they expect from their board members. Try these practical steps to help you find the right board service opportunity for you.