Are You a Good Board Member?

Written by Claudette G. Baker

Let’s assume the nonprofit board you are currently serving on did everything right to get you to agree to serve on their board.  That means in the recruitment process expectations – the 3Ts (time, talent, treasure) or 3Ws (work, wisdom, wealth) were covered in detail.  You said “yes” because you were excited to be asked, you were passionate about the mission, and you felt you could make a significant contribution in your governance role.  It’s time now to self-reflect and self-assess your participation.

Time and Work – You attend board meetings and participate in activities.  Your time and work extends beyond the actual board meeting and includes your serving on a committee and attending some of the organization’s events.  You are dependable and follow through on your assignments.  You are not expected to participate in everything but you are expected to do more than just attend the monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly board meetings.

Talent and Wisdom – You offer your expertise and knowledge to help advance the organization’s mission.  One of the reasons you were recruited was because of your strengths and skills in a specific area.

Treasure and wealth – You not only give a personal contribution but you also get donations.  You fully understand it’s a board responsibility to ensure the organization has resources to carry out the mission.

In addition to the 3Ts and 3Ws, good board members:

  • disclose conflicts of interest
  • participate in discussion during the meeting and not outside of the meeting
  • treat peers respectfully
  • are team players
  • adhere to keeping information confidential
  • know when it’s time to retire if term limits are not a part of the organization

Give yourself a check mark for each area where you are doing your part.  Also, ask yourself in what ways can you improve.  If you are unable to give yourself a check mark know the reasons why and be sure you are communicating with the board chair and CEO.  If you are unable to meet the minimum requirements of your nonprofit’s board service exit gracefully, remain an ambassador for the organization, and ask to return when you are able to fully commit and be loyal to the organization.

What’s the opposite of the good stuff mentioned above? BAD!  And, of course, that’s not you.

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