8 Questions to Ask Potential Board Members

Ask the Governance Guru

Part 2 in a series of governance posts

We’ve all heard stories of board recruitment gone wrong…

The person who was asked to join by his golf buddy because they have fun golfing…the resume-builder who is a name on the letterhead but is not an active board member…or the bully who has come and gone from several boards but no one bothered to check with those other organizations.

To help avoid some of these disasters, here are…

8 Questions to Ask Potential Board Members

  1. Why are you interested in serving on this board?
  2. What attracts you to our mission?
  3. What are some of your prior board leadership experiences?
  4. What other boards are you on now?
  5. What skills, connections, resources and expertise do you have to offer and are willing to use on the behalf of the organization?
  6. Do you have any concerns about joining the board?
  7. How much time a month can you commit to meetings and serving the mission?
  8. What are your expectations from the management of the nonprofits where you’ve served as a board member?
  9. Are you willing to make a financial commitment that is a stretch?

These questions get to the heart of what it means to be a board member. It is also a good idea to try to verify some of these answers, possibly by talking with the CEO of another organization on whose board this person has served. Next we’ll share some questions that board members should ask before they agree to join a board.

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About Susan Suarez

I am a nonprofit management and fundraising consultant. I have 30 years experience in the philanthropic sector including senior level positions in management, fundraising and grantmaking. I started consulting in 2003, working with local nonprofits and with community foundations nationally. My experience as Executive Director of Eden Autism Services Florida, President of the Community Foundation of Collier County, Vice President of Marketing and Development for the Community Foundation Silicon Valley, and Development Director for the American Red Cross in Palo Alto, CA provides a deep background in philanthropy and management to benefit my clients.
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