Nonprofit Development: Choose Your Board of Directors Carefully!

by Carrie Roberts

People engaged in their own nonprofit development ask me all the time: What is the most important thing to do when putting a nonprofit together? There are many things to consider, but choosing a board of directors is, perhaps, one of the most important. The board of directors has fiduciary and legal responsibility for the well being of the nonprofit, so chose individuals that are competent and business savvy!

Conflict of interest becomes an important concern for nonprofits especially when dealing with their board of directors. Simply put, you cannot compensate your board members in any manner for their service on the board of directors. It is best practice for a nonprofit not to award contracts for service to board members; accept only donated services and products from board members. If there is any exchange of money between your nonprofit and its board member, you are likely to have problems.

Development of Your Nonprofit’s Board

When recruiting board members, look for folks with varied talents. I recommend that every board have at least one attorney and one CPA/accountant sitting on it to provide legal and fiscal guidance. Look for individuals in your community who have interest in your cause and time to dedicate to it. It is important that you have a working board, and not just names on a piece of paper.

A couple of other tidbits to note:  it is best to have seven or nine members on your board; you want to have an uneven number to ensure that you can break a tie vote.  Also, no more than 2/3rds of your members should be related.  However, I think it is best if no one on your board is related to anyone else on it; this way, the board appears better to represent the community.

Take your time choosing your board of directors as this can make or break your nonprofit. Ask everyone you know for recommendations, and choose wisely!

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For the Charitable Community

Beverly Molander of Unity Online Radio interviewed Carrie Roberts on the air. Carrie talked about the financial challenges that nonprofits face and she explained important issues for nonprofit start-ups. Carrie and Beverly discussed the mission of For The Charitable Community, and Carrie explained what makes the upcoming Fearless Fundraising webinar unique. Listen here: Unity Online Radio Interview.

For The Charitable Community in the news: Our own Carrie Roberts was a guest on The Jerry Doyle Show. Listen here: Jerry Doyle interviews Carrie Roberts.

Carrie Roberts interviewed on Blog Talk Radio: Social Networking for Women. Learn more about our mission.

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