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4 traits every nonprofit board member should possess

The ideal nonprofit board member is more than a couple deep pockets. In fact, if your directors don't possess these four critical traits, your organization could be missing out on any number of strategic opportunities.


Imagine your nonprofit could appoint any professional or public figure to its board of directors. How do you choose from the best of the best? Is it better to have the young, energetic tech guru with deep pockets, or the established thought leader with a sprawling network and prestige to spare?
While the knee-jerk reaction may be to go for whoever has the deepest pockets and a propensity for emptying them, the long-term health of your organization depends upon your ability to secure donors both today and years from now. And that means recruiting members whose networks can produce relationships that lead to strategic fundraising fulfillment. These are the people who will not only evangelize for your mission and organization, but can attract new donors and partners in the future.
So, how do you recognize these super-connecting, super-effective individuals?

In a recent webinar presented at the Association for Fundraising Professionals Chicago, we outlined four assets every nonprofit board member should possess to make the greatest impact on your organization:

  1. Thought leader status. Is this recruit a trusted, high-level decision-maker in his professional life? Is he a go-to in terms of subject matter expertise or strategy?
  2. Social network presence. Does he actively engage with other high-level individuals—peers, friends, fans—who might be tapped for support later on?
  3. Nonprofit experience. Has he previously worked with nonprofits in a capacity beyond financial support? Has he held board positions or led partnerships, again, making connection with like-minded individuals?
  4. Passion. Do his interests align with the mission of the organization in a tangible way? Does he come from a related field, or has he supported similar missions in the past?
Of course, finding the answers to these questions—without wasting valuable time and resources in endless research—is the tricky part. Or is it? For information on how Relationship Science’s dynamic search tools and in-depth profiles measure a potential board member's relationship capital and take the guesswork out of recruitment, download our latest webinar, “The 4 X-Factors To Consider When Building A Nonprofit Board of Directors.”
RelSci provides a relationship capital platform that helps create competitive advantage for organizations through a crucial yet vastly underutilized asset: relationship capital with influential decision makers. 

haylin_belay.jpgThe preceiding is a cross-post of article by Haylin Belay that originally appeared on The RelSci Blog. To view the post, click here
Topics: Board Development