Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finding the right board: A prospect’s view

The quest to bring the right people to the nonprofit boardroom table usually takes the organization’s perspective: identifying what our nonprofit needs and strategizing ways to mine the community to find just the right person to meet them.

Whether by design or happy coincidence, yesterday’s Twitter feed brought a stream of links that take the other side of the equation: exploring and evaluating the right fit for an individual seeking an opportunity to serve.

It started with this Board Café post, “Finding the Right Next Board to Join,” by Jan Masaoka. Of course, I loved that the first question she posed focused directly on mission: “Is this the right cause for me?” If you can’t answer with a resounding “yes,” please move on.

The next link took me to the second half of a two-post series on “What You Should Know About Joining a Nonprofit Board” by James D’Ambrosio. I’d read part one, but discovering the latter post completed the circle. The questions in this series focus a bit more on structural aspects of a prospective board and may resonate with different people in slightly different ways.

While clicking various links related to those posts, I ended up at the Bridgestar site, and an even more comprehensive list of questions in a post titled, “What Should I Know Before Joining a Nonprofit Board?” You’ll see some overlap with the other lists and some thought-provoking additions as well. You’ll also find a downloadable version of the list at the bottom of the post.

Finally, as I read that post I noticed another link, to a post, titled “Nonprofit Boards: How to Find a Rewarding Board Position.” That particular article highlights considerations that I believe have great potential for an ultimate right fit, digging into some of the deeper motivations that draw and inspire not only board service but governance leadership. Note that, like the other Bridgestar post, a downloadable version is available.

You know how much I’m drawn to great questions. The plethora of great questions to ask – of ourselves and the boards we are considering – forming these posts felt like a gift, to me and to anyone wanting to take a thoughtful approach to making the right commitment to the right organization.

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