The Board Building Cycle: Nine Steps to Success

BoardSource offers nonprofit leaders the following nine steps as an ongoing board building cycle that will help your organization create a robust and high performing board.

Step 1:  Identify board needs. What do we have? What is missing? Identify sources of board members with the needed characteristics.

Step 2:  Cultivate potential board members. Get them interested in your organization and keep them informed of your progress.

Step 3:  Recruit prospects. Describe why a prospective member is wanted and needed. Describe expectations and responsibilities of board members, and don’t minimize requirements.

Step 4:  Orient new board members to the organization-program, history, bylaws, pressing issues, finances, facilities, organization chart-and to the board-recent minutes, committees, board member responsibilities, lists of board members and key staff members.

Step 5:  Activate all board members. Discover their interests and availability. Involve them in committees or task forces.

Step 6:  Educate the board. Provide information concerning your mission area. Promote exploration of issues facing the organization. Don’t hide difficulties.

Step 7:  Rotate board members. Establish and use term limits. Do not automatically re-elect for an additional term; consider the board’s needs and the board member’s performance.

Step 8:  Evaluate the board and individual board members. Engage the board in assessing its own performance. Identify ways in which to improve. Encourage individual self-assessment.

Step 9:  Celebrate! Recognize victories and progress, even small ones. Appreciate individual contributions to the board, the organization, and the community.

Contact me to help your board better understand the value of ongoing board development, and help you create a structure that will lead your board development efforts.