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Building a Better Nonprofit Board

Some of us have fantasied about casting a magic spell over our board members to make them generous, engaged, and committed to our mission. But, alas, we don’t live in the world of Harry Potter and his friends. We have no magic wands. So, the next best thing is to identify and invite those who have the interest, ability, and capacity to support your organization.

Yes, this is easier said than done, but here are some recommendations. When recruiting new board members, the nominations committee should start by asking questions such as 1) What expertise does the organization need from its board? and 2) Does the gender, ethnicity makeup of the board reflect the community served?

A board matrix can help the committee keep track of the various qualifications needed. You can find various templates online, but the basic elements are:

· Areas of expertise needed

· Community connections

· Financial resources

· Demographics such as age, gender, race and ethnicity

What size and structure of board does your organization need? Texas law requires a minimum of three non-related members. In addition, you will also need several committees which can be comprised of board members and non-board members.

The basic board committees are:

· Executive Committee

· Nominating or Governance

· Finance

· Development or Fundraising

Once your nominations committee has presented a slate of members and officers and everyone is voted into office, then it’s time to provide an orientation for new board members and a refresher for established ones.

Consider using a consultant to present information on nonprofit best practices and roles and responsibilities of board members, including their role in fundraising. A well-written policy adopted by the board on board giving is also very helpful.

Resources for identifying board members in Fort Worth and Dallas are:

· Board Build is a Fort Worth nonprofit whose mission is to connect nonprofit boards with emerging and established leaders

· Leadership Dallas is a leadership training program for people who want to serve on nonprofit boards.

· The Business Council for the Arts, is a Dallas-based training program for individuals who want to serve on board of art organizations.

· BoardSource is a national organization that provides resources and training for nonprofit board members,

Building and sustaining a board that is committed to the organization takes work, but it can be a rewarding experience for all involved.


Michelle Crim, CFRE

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in startup and smaller nonprofits because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.

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