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What are Good Board
These are keen observations based, sadly, on real experiences.
Good Board Member:
Attends most meetings, not just press
events - This indicates interest in actually helping, not just using
the board to make the resume look good. If the photographer knows your
board member prefers shots from either the left or right side, they may be
seeking to use the organization for publicity.
Arrives on time for meetings without golf
clubs - Arriving on time means they take the role seriously; leaving
the clubs behind will let them concentrate on work. Cleaning clubs during
the meeting could be viewed as disrespectful.
Insists that meetings end as scheduled
but not before they start - A valuable board members is a busy board
member and timelines are essential. However, making a motion to cancel the
meeting as it opens is viewed negatively.
Provides direct contact information
not just a fax number - This includes office, home and cell phone numbers.
You would be amazed at how hard it is to explain things exclusively by
Avoids such conflicts of interest as
a nonprofit family business- Today nonprofits need to be more cautious
about conflicts of interest or even the appearance of one. If your lawyer,
printer, and landlord are on the board and have the same last name as the
executive director, there could be a conflict.
Will attend, but not become, a special
event - The board represents the organization and if they don't attend
special events, they send a negative message. If they are arrested for
fighting during the event, that also sends a negative message.
Questions strategic direction, but
not daily operations - Boards should not micro-manage. They choose the
executive director, not the type of pens to use. A board member should
also avoid arriving before staff to report on who was late, how long staff
took for lunch and what they were wearing. Some call this stalking.
Does not need to be asked before donating
- Giving is important and the board sets the example. There are many ways
to give including through a life-insurance policy. Pledging a $100,000
gift through a life insurance policy that can only be written after the
board member loses 100lbs is hard to count toward a capital campaign,
although the effort to loose weight is admirable.