Serving as a board member is one of the most challenging and rewarding of volunteer assignments. While appointment or election to a board is an honor, board members have important legal and fiduciary responsibilities that require a commitment of time, skill, and resources. Prospective board members do themselves a service and show that they are serious about the commitments they make by asking some basic questions.
- What is the organization’s mission?
- How do its programs relate to the mission?
- Does the organization have a strategic plan?
- Ask questions about the organization's clients or constituencies.
- Whom does the organization serve?
- Are the organization's clients or constituencies satisfied with the organization?
- Ask questions about individual board members' responsibilities.
- What are the ways that you think I can contribute as a board member?
- How much of my time will be required for meetings and special events?
- How are committee assignments made?
- What orientation will I receive to the organization and to the responsibilities of board service?
- Does the organization provide opportunities for board development and education?
- What is the board's role in fund-raising?
- Will I be expected to make a specific annual financial contribution?
- What role will I play in soliciting donors?
Evaluate Your Interest
Once you are satisfied with the information you have received, it is time to evaluate your own interest in serving on the board. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I committed to the mission of the organization?
- Can I contribute the time necessary to be an effective board member?
- Am I comfortable with the approach and tone of the organization's fund-raising efforts?
- Can I contribute financial support consistent with the organization's expectations of board members and with my own means and priorities?
- Can I place the organization's purposes and interests above my own professional and personal interests when making decisions as a board member?