Five Things to Do Before Becoming a Board Member

So you have been asked to sit on a board. Exciting, yes? Flattered? certainly! But have you done your homework to find out if this is the right board for you?

Some quick things you need to think about before saying “yes!”

  1. Do they have directors insurance? There are certain legal responsibilities that come with sitting on a board and you don’t want to have your name and finances on the line if something unforeseen happens. And you want to be involved in an organization that knows enough to protect it’s board, right?
  2. Have you checked to find out what kind of board it is? Is it a working board that expects its directors to work the casino, sell hotdogs and haul tables at fundraising events? Is it a governance board that sets mission and vision and gives direction to staff? Don’t find yourself in a situation where your expectations don’t line up with the organizations.
  3. Is this board doing work you really care about? Say it is a governance board and they expect members to be ambassadors? They want you to use your connections to friend and fundraise. Do you want to call in favours and tap your connections on the soldier for this cause? Or is there something else you are more passionate about?
  4. Do they offer orientation and training? You are a busy person and it is in your best interest to make sure that your time is used wisely and an orientation and board training can save a lot of time and frustration for everyone.
  5. Do they have a strategic plan? Are they willing to work on one? An organization with no strategic plan and no desire to have one is an organization that will flounder and leave board members frustrated.

Make sure you know what you are getting into before saying agreeing to sit on a board. That way it has a much better chance of being a positive experience for all involved!