What would be the ideal composition of your board? What skill sets should you have represented by board members that you can therefore leverage to your organization’s advantage? What does your board development committee look for in a board candidate?
I’m currently board president of a nonprofit with a terrific board. We have new directors and long-time directors, and are equally split between those most interested in the delivery of our programs and those with gifts of organizational management. Nonetheless, all are equally committed to our mission and values and bring their skills and their “A-game” to each meeting.
Some of our directors serve on other nonprofit boards. They bring significant experience and perspective to us and have helped us network and collaborate with other nonprofits nearby.
My sense is that any organization’s board needs a full complement of skills to help the organization and its leadership maximize their impact. Marketing, finance, legal, entrepreneurial, business owner, human capital, IT, networks; you name it. They all have a roll to play in helping the organization succeed.
A healthy organization would also include a broad seeding of age, sex, and ancestral diversity. Since your key stakeholders come from many backgrounds, experiences, and cultures, you need to be sure your messaging, positioning, and communication reaches out to each constituent and speaks his or her language.
Our board is looking at adding a strong marketing skill set that can help us with positioning, communication, messaging, and branding. This may even require two people – whatever it takes to communicate the right message, to the right people, the right way, how and when they want to receive it. We have lots of work to do here, but it is exciting to think about the potential.