Veronica Dagher’s article in the December 11 issue of the Wall Street Journal, “What to Consider Before Joining a Nonprofit Board,” is useful reading for board-savvy CEOs who are interested in strengthening their boards’ composition. Dagher discusses five questions that prospective board members should ask (and board-savvy CEOs should be prepared to answer), such as, “What’s the financial commitment?” and “How Active are your board members?” Reading Dagher’s piece called to mind a thought-provoking podcast that Rich Manners recorded for this blog on his criteria for joining – and resigning from – a nonprofit board.
A highly successful entrepreneur who passionately believes in contributing his time, experience, and expertise to governing nonprofit organizations, Rich Manners has served on a number of nonprofit boards over the years. He is also a founding member of the Florida Association of Nonprofit Organizations.
In his highly informative podcast, Rich makes clear that it’s not just a matter of his being chosen to fill a board seat. On the contrary, he consciously chooses whether to join the board. Doing his due diligence before accepting an invitation to join a nonprofit board, among other things he reviews the nonprofit’s mission, its bylaws, its finances, and the board’s committee structure to determine the likelihood of making a real difference as a board member.
Rich also explains why he has on rare occasions resigned from nonprofit boards over the years, principally because he felt that these boards were so staff-driven and so unengaged in shaping high-stakes decisions that his precious and all-too-finite volunteer time was being wasted. As Rich observes in the podcast, governance is a matter of “serious people doing serious business,” and if a board isn’t going about its business seriously, then Rich isn’t inclined to stick around.
If you want to help your nonprofit attract – and retain – top-notch board members who can make a powerful contribution, Rich’s podcast is must listening: