There are many traits that make a board member successful, from social connections and wealth to expertise in a particular area. But there are some intangibles that make a good director great, such as the ability to think outside of the box and remain objective when discussing highly emotional topics.
It’s also important for boards to have members who have the appropriate communication skills, since they will be sharing sensitive information within and out of meetings. Board members should be able to communicate effectively in both written and oral form. A successful board member must have a solid work ethic and an interest in the company to be successful.
The right mix of board members is crucial to a nonprofit’s success. For example, adding an artistic director to the board can bring a fresh perspective to issues that may be stalled in a rut, or simply not being addressed properly. Also, adding an expert in finance can ensure that critical financial matters are taken into consideration from all angles.
The nominating committee should take the time to ensure that new board members are well-suited for the role, and possess the required expertise and independence. A competent nominating committee will look for candidates who have a wide range of abilities, including a knowledge of the nonprofit’s operations and strategies as well as the various stakeholders. It is crucial that the board doesn’t have overlaps in memberships as this can limit its effectiveness.