Joan seemed to have truly had some fun with the questions you wish you could ask. Here are a few of my favorites from that portion of her post:
“Can you assure us that you won’t ask any really stupid questions at a board meeting?”
“When someone says something you disagree with, do you either sigh or roll your eyes?”
“How many times in the last month have you been on a conference call, hit the MUTE button, and checked your
…and my absolute favorite:
“Are you rich? I mean, like really rich. We need really rich people on our board.”
Yes, you will enjoy the rest when you read the full post!
The real meat and potatoes of Joan’s excellent post are the questions you can ask.
Here are my favorites from her superb list:
“What do you know about our organization? Why are you interested in committing your time and energy to us?”
“What do you think are the characteristics of a great board member?”
“What kind of autonomy do you have over your calendar? There will be meetings between board meetings, occasional donor lunches.”
Notice how they go right to the heart of the matter when searching for the BEST nonprofit board members. They focus in on what I consider to be the five key traits of top-notch board members:
True Passion for the Mission
Successful Track Record of Achievement
Innate Ability to Work with Others
Willingness to be Fully Involved in Fundraising
Knows How to Make Time Available
Honestly, aside from having special training in such fields as legal, accounting, HR or other areas of professional expertise, could any board filled with individuals possessing those five traits form various age and ethnic groups be anything short of marvelous?
Formulate Your Own Set of Key Questions
Using Joan’s questions as a starting point please take the time to formulate a larger set of questions that can be spread out across the multiple steps in recruiting board members. From the initial call to the one to two face-to-face meetings with others on the Governance Committee to the meeting with key staff of the nonprofit, such questions will illuminate the very best board members.
In fact, once in place all of you involved in the selection process will wonder how you ever achieved any results by doing it any other way!
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.