Many people seek to join nonprofit boards or committees for various reasons. Some join because they want to develop and improve their leadership skills, while others see it as an opportunity to grow their network and maximize their impact.
Whatever the reason, becoming a member of a nonprofit board requires certain outstanding qualities and characteristics. We have compiled a list of ten (10) qualities we believe make for an exemplary volunteer on a nonprofit board or committee.
1. Pre-existing Passion for the Cause
Board members must exhibit a passion for the cause. While knowledge is essential, it is not everything. Expertise and qualifications are great in theory, but if a person lacks passion and drive, they limit themselves and the organization.
Those who are passionate about a cause bring heart, motivation, and energy to the table. They will also commit their time and resources to the board and do their best for the best possible outcome.
2. A Strong Desire for Stewardship to Others
One quality a board member should possess is stewardship. It is essential to have people on board who are responsible, accountable, and proactive. They must commit to doing what needs to be done for the best interest of the organization.
3. Exceptional Communication Skills
Exercising exceptional communication skills is a must. A volunteer on a nonprofit board must be able to communicate their ideas and instructions accurately and quickly, so there is no room for misinterpretation.
Each board member having good interpersonal skills also means that there will be reduced conflict and occurrences of disagreements.
4. Strives to Learn as Much as Possible
As human beings, we never stop learning. Board members should exercise a willingness to listen and learn from those around them. By cultivating members who are curious to learn more and explore new ideas, your brand will be exposed to more opportunities.
5. Willingness to Prepare Ahead for Meetings and Events
Another important quality of a board member is their preparedness for meetings and events. Board members should show up to meetings with an understanding of the agenda, committee reports, and assignments that the organization is currently working on. Preparedness is a tell-tale sign of interest and drive.
6. Expression of Ideas
The ideal nonprofit board member will openly express their ideas that further a nonprofit's goals. Expressing ideas also encompasses creativity, excitement, communication, and preparedness. They should always feel comfortable pitching a concept that is in the best interest of the organization.
7. Eagerness to Participate
Being enthusiastic and invested in your cause is a quality of an outstanding board member. Eagerness proves that you are passionate and willing to do what is necessary to take the organization to another level. Someone that dedicates much of their time and resources to the organization is eager and irreplaceable.
8. Proactive Thinker
The ideal board member is always ten steps ahead of the game; this board member has already anticipated what will be needed next and thinks about every possible scenario to properly prepare for it and achieve the best possible outcome.
9. Leadership and Vision
One of the most valuable qualities a board member can possess is the ability to see the bigger picture. A great board member will possess the courage to set the organization’s direction to ultimately achieve the mission.
Even though knowledge is not everything, knowledge is necessary to make an excellent board member. Knowledge will drive you to make calculated decisions and combined with your passion and eagerness, the nonprofit would stand to benefit greatly.