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5 Qualities That Make Someone A Successful Nonprofit Board Member

successful nonprofit board member
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Nonprofit organizations depend on dedicated and effective board members to fulfill their mission and drive positive change in their communities. Success in board membership requires a combination of personal qualities, commitment to the organization, and fulfillment of legal responsibilities. In this discussion, we will explore the essential qualities and responsibilities that make someone a successful nonprofit board member. Understanding these key aspects empowers individuals to make a meaningful impact, actively participate in decision-making processes, and secure the organization’s long-term success.

Here are 5 qualities that make someone a successful nonprofit board member

1. Commitment to the organization

Successful board members demonstrate a genuine commitment to the nonprofit’s mission and the clients it serves. They prioritize attending meetings, actively participate in discussions, and take an active role in decision-making processes. By dedicating their time and expertise, they contribute to the organization’s growth and development. Successful board members also make an effort to be well-informed about the organization’s mission, services, policies, and programs. They continuously seek knowledge about the nonprofit’s work and stay updated on developments in the relevant fields. This commitment to staying informed allows board members to make their own informed decisions and provide valuable insights.

2. Personal financial contribution

 Successful nonprofit board members lead by example by making a personal financial contribution to the nonprofit. Before asking others to contribute, they confirm their dedication by pledging and paying an annual contribution. By making this financial commitment, they demonstrate their belief in the organization’s mission and values. Additionally, they actively participate in fundraising and resource development efforts. They make thank you calls to donors, bring colleagues and friends to fundraising events, and host friendraising events in their homes. Successful board members actively engage in cultivating relationships with potential donors and help secure in-kind contributions. By actively participating in fundraising activities, they support the financial sustainability of the organization and inspire others to contribute.

3. Ethical conduct and confidentiality

Successful board members always have the organization’s best interests in mind and avoid conflicts of interest. They adhere to the duty of loyalty, meaning they act in the best interests of the organization and do not use their position for personal gain. They maintain confidentiality of board deliberations and publicly support board decisions, even if they may have disagreed. Board members should follow conflict of interest and confidentiality policies, signing statements annually and excusing themselves from discussions and votes where they have a conflict of interest. By upholding these ethical standards, successful board members foster trust and ensure the organization’s integrity.

4. Active engagement and leadership

Successful board members actively engage with the organization beyond board meetings. They serve on committees, offer to take on special assignments, and take leadership roles when necessary. They attend and actively participate in the annual board retreat and strategic planning workshops. By actively participating in committee work and special assignments, they share the workload and contribute their expertise to the organization’s initiatives. Additionally, successful board members inform others about the nonprofit, acting as goodwill ambassadors. They make presentations at community venues, personally contact friends and businesses to support the nonprofit, and share relevant information with their networks.

5. Fulfillment of legal responsibilities

Successful board members understand and fulfill their legal responsibilities. They meet the duty of care by making informed decisions and exercising reasonable care in their stewardship of the organization. They meet the duty of loyalty by acting in the best interests of the organization, avoiding personal gain, and being faithful to the mission. They meet the duty of obedience by ensuring their actions align with the organization’s central goals, obeying the law, and adhering to the organization’s internal rules and regulations. By fulfilling these legal responsibilities, successful board members protect the organization’s reputation and build public trust.


Being a successful nonprofit board member requires a combination of personal qualities, commitment, and fulfillment of legal responsibilities. By demonstrating a commitment to the organization, making personal financial contributions, actively participating in decision-making processes, and upholding ethical conduct, board members can make a lasting impact. Additionally, active engagement, leadership, and the fulfillment of legal responsibilities contribute to the organization’s growth, sustainability, and positive change in the community. If you are considering joining a nonprofit board, embodying these qualities will help you contribute effectively and become an integral part of the organization’s success. Together, we can create a brighter future and make a difference in the lives of those we serve.

What qualities do you think make someone a successful nonprofit board member? 

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