Tips for new nonprofit board members

When elected as a director you want to make a good impression, help the organization and boost your own career as well. That’s understood. Here are some tips published by the NJCPA for getting involved in community organizations:

1. Block out the year’s board meeting schedule on your calendar. Plan on attending them all. Carefully read the minutes and agenda package before each meeting.

2. Find a project or role that showcases your professional skills. You make a difference while subtly positioning yourself as an expert.

3. Arrive early and stay a few minutes late. Review the minutes from previous board meetings, noting the start and ending times. Plan accordingly.

4. Dress well. Share anonymous success stories when people ask, “How’s business?” Drip on them.

5. Plant yourself on a stool at the club bar and say, “Finally, a chance to relax. This is my busiest time of year.” The member next to you will likely ask, “What do you do?”

6. Position yourself as the alternative provider. Suppose a conversation leads into “I already have a (your profession).” You might reply, “I’m sure you are very happy with her. If anything ever changes, please keep me in mind.”

7. Draw them out in conversation. If you allow them to tell their stories, they usually end up liking you because they had a good time.

8. Talk about personal interests. In social settings, travel, golf, house prices, and even gardening are good subjects.

Another article lists behavior to avoid as a new board member.


For more information on improving performance of nonprofit organizations, request a copy of my booklet “What every nonprofit  board member should know“. It is free to officers and directors of nonprofit organizations.

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  1. Pingback: Tony Novak CPA | Mistakes to avoid as a new nonprofit board member

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