What Makes a Successful Board Member?

Your board of trustees is made up of individuals responsible for overall governance of a nonprofit. There is no rule or guideline on who can be a trustee, so anyone can serve. What makes a successful board member? When looking at potential candidates, prudently consider these factors:


The board of trustees makes decisions on the long-term goals of your organization. Look for individuals with experience in long-term planning.  According to Foundation Group, “Governance is high level:  strategy, oversight, accountability”. It is essential they understand they will not be overseeing day to day operations at your organization. Rather, they will be setting the guidelines on how you go about doing your work broadly, and why your organization is vital to the community.


Choose individuals who are truly interested in the organization. These are the donors or volunteers who you know are committed to the mission of your organization and want to see it succeed. You hear from these folks, “How can I help?”. Often, their known level of commitment makes them a top priority for recruiting to serve on the board.


A strong board member is able and willing to aid in your fundraising efforts. Oftentimes, this will come in the form of a personal donation to a campaign or project to kick-start giving. While personal giving isn’t essential to become a board member, it is a signal to other donors of their commitment to your organization.

Board members are also invaluable in identifying potential donors to your organization. As natural partners, they can aid in setting up meetings and create authentic opportunities for others to get involved in your organization.

Choosing a board member is a difficult decision, but one that is vital to the longevity and direction of your organization. Appoint an experienced, committed individual who wants to help fund raise to set your organization up for long term success.

Want to learn more on the topic of non-profits? Check out the Julep Blog.