What Traits Make a Successful Board Member?

There are many aspects that can go into making an effective board member, from connections to the community and wealth to knowledge in a particular field. There are some intangibles, however, that make a great director. These include the ability to think out of the box and the ability to remain neutral when discussing emotionally charged topics.

Board members must also possess the right communication skills as they will be communicating sensitive information both during and out of meetings. Board members must be able effectively communicate both verbally and in writing. Having a strong work ethic and a desire to do well for the organization is another key trait of a good board member.

The ideal mix of board members is vital to the success of a nonprofit. For instance, adding a creative director on the board could provide a fresh perspective to issues that might be stalled in a rut, or simply not being addressed in a timely manner. Likewise, the addition of an expert in finance can ensure that crucial financial issues are being examined from a variety of angles.

The nominating body should spend the time needed to ensure that the new board members have the required experience and a sense of independence. A effective nominating committee will be looking for candidates who have a wide range of skill sets, including a knowledge of the nonprofit’s operations and strategies, as well as the stakeholders. It is important to ensure that the board does not overlap memberships since this could limit its effectiveness.


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