When was the last time you were asked to join the board of a nonprofit, church or other community organization?

What was your reply and what questions did you ask? Not long ago I was asked about joining a board. Now that I’m in the “board business” I find I’m more reflective as I think about the invitation. I penned seven questions to ask before you join a board.

Here are the seven.

  1. Do I have a passion for the organization’s mission?
  2. Do I know enough about the organization?
  3. Do I know what I’m supposed to do as a board member?
  4. Do I know enough about board governance?
  5. What will be my hourly commitment every month (time)?
  6. What will be required of me financially (treasure)?
  7. What do I have to offer that is special (talent)?

For today, let’s look at the first one. We will come back later for the others.

I remember asking a board member at a Boys and Girls Club about their board. His reply was quick and to the point. “If you are on this board, you have to be passionate about kids and you have to be willing to work hard.” I’ll never forget that. More than any other quality, board members need to be passionate about the mission. Peter Drucker put it this way: “What matters is the leader’s mission.” You have to ask about what stokes your passions, what energizes, what makes you want to serve? If an organization’s mission does these things to you, then you have answered the first question in the affirmative. You can go on to the second.

But if the organization does not rise to the level of importance in your heart, then it may be time to wait for another opportunity.

Next time we will pick up on question number two. For now, what grabs your heart?

For more information be sure to check out my book Board Essentials: 12 Best Practices of Nonprofit Boards

About Dave Coleman

Dave Coleman Principal / Consultant Phone: 253-237-4118 After many years of nonprofit leadership and the privilege of getting to know hundreds of organizations through my work with the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, I am pleased to offer my services to you at BoardTrek Nonprofit Consulting. Our small Pacific Northwest based company is focused on helping guide nonprofit organizations and their leaders into the future by offering our services in board governance, strategic planning, leadership development and organizational change. Always feel free to contact me with your thoughts and questions.
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