Captioning–Press (Special Page)

"Our BoardAssist candidates have been amazing additions to our Board of Directors."

Executive Director, Good Shepherd Services.
Credit: Volunteers of America
helping individuals and families in need

Top Ten Tips for Finding a Perfect Nonprofit Board

You asked.  We listened.  We hope you find our Top Ten Tips for Finding a Perfect Nonprofit Board useful.  For more on finding that perfect fit, download our free book, Giving Back, complete with case studies and answers to the FAQs we are asked most about board service.  Ready to join a board?  Tell us more so we can find you your dream board!


Top Ten Tips for Finding a Perfect Nonprofit Board


1. Find a nonprofit whose mission truly resonates with you.

Don’t compromise. With 1.8 million nonprofit board seats opening up in the United States every year, the demand is enormous. Hold out for something that is perfect for you!

2. Age matters.

Choose a nonprofit that’s the right age and budget for you. Do you want to join a startup or an established nonprofit that’s a household name? Do you want to work with an organization with 500 employees or just 5, where board members essentially function as staff?

3. Timing is everything.

How much time can you comfortably invest in board service? Find out where, when, and exactly how often your potential board meets – and if you can join by phone when you can’t attend in person.

4. Who’s on top?

Investigate board leadership and get a full bio of the Executive Director and the Board Chair. Don’t accept a board seat till you have met with both of them. Do you envision the time you’ll spend working together as enjoyable and rewarding?

5. Who else is on the board?

Do some additional research on your potential fellow board members. Where do they work? What are their areas of expertise? Would your skills be complementary and add something different to the board?

6. Find out why the board is adding at this time.

What’s the historic board turnover rate? Are members leaving because they can’t engage beyond raising capital? Are there personality conflicts? Find out!

7. Do I need a Roman numeral at the end of my name or have a trust fund to sit on this board?

What’s the expected financial commitment? Is it clear ($XX per year) or vague (members are asked to contribute something “personally significant)?” Decide what you’re comfortable with and don’t forget to factor in all the other pieces, including benefit tickets, journal ads, and capital campaigns.

8. Will I just be an ATM machine?

What, aside from fundraising, have board members done for the organization over the last three years? If your goal is to find a board that encourages and values engagement, ask for concrete examples.

9. My pocket or yours?

How does the financial commitment break down? Does the board mandate if your annual dues should be delivered on your own, or is there an expectation that you will be asked to generate donations from friends and colleagues? Is fundraising a comfortable role for you if it is indeed required?

10. Bring in the pros.

Consider working with a no-fee, nonprofit board matching service like BoardAssist, who can guide you through the process and ultimately help you make the right choice. For more tips on working with a nonprofit board matching service, see “How to Find the Perfect Nonprofit Board Matching Service.”


Serving on a nonprofit board can be an incredibly rewarding experience if you can engage and make a difference. For a full discussion of what to consider before joining a nonprofit board, download BoardAssist’s Giving Back and watch our recent nationally televised interview (below) discussing how easy it is to join a board with BoardAssist.   For a deeper dive, watch our 30 minute Video on What to Think About Before Joining a Board.