Friday, 14 August 2015 18:04

10 questions you should ask before you join a nonprofit board Featured

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Contemplating a joining a nonprofit board? 

Years ago a corporate client and friend of mine was thinking of joining a nonprofit board and asked for my advice about what questions he should ask. I put together a list of questions to ask, he asked the questions, found the responses very enlightening, joined the board with eyes wide open, shook some things up, and the organization has since gone from strength to strength. 

I have been refining it ever since, and thought today was as good a day as any to share it! So – if you’re contemplating joining a nonprofit board, before you commit, here are ten killer questions to ask your potential nonprofit Board colleagues. 

  1. How much faith do you have in the current CEO/Executive Director?
  2. What are the current objectives for the organization and what happens if they are not met?
  3. Can I see the strategic plan?
  4. What will the organization NOT do?
  5. Who makes key strategic decisions (i.e. to serve a target group, to allocate a significant portion of funding)?
  6. What is the current funding situation & how sustainable are the sources?
  7. Do you know how much it costs to serve a client?
  8. Who are the other board members and what are their roles? 
  9. Are board members expected/required to make a financial commitment to the organization? Why, or why not?
  10. How does the Board relate to other local, national or international Boards associated with the organization? Is it clear who is expected to do what? Who gets to make what decisions?

Last modified on Thursday, 07 July 2016 03:13
Liana Downey

Liana Downey is an experienced management consultant, who has consistently delivered results for clients on critical topics around the world. Liana is an expert advisor to the Australian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Prior to establishing Liana Downey & Associates, she led McKinsey & Company's Australian government and social-sector practices, and holds an MBA (Public Management) from Stanford University.