Characteristics of a Model Board Member

I’ve worked with a number of board members over the years. A number of readers are board members and we could all benefit from thinking through valuable traits of board members. This is by no means a comprehensive list.

These characteristics are ones I have come to value. Leave a comment and share a few of your favorite traits of board members.

  • Acknowledge the efforts of others: Whether it is the work of staff or of another volunteer, I love it when a board member shares the credit they receive with others.
  • Are clear with staff about what they can and cannot do: My favorite board members are very clear about what they can and cannot do, about how much time they have to volunteer and, in-turn, how much time they can spend in meetings.
  • Ambitious about creating success: The very best board members want to participate in making the organization successful, so they are often introducing new people to the organization or being diligent about making sure the organization is out talking with their community. (This same trait can become a problem if a board member wants to move before staff is ready to move or wants to work as a lone wolf without the strategic involvement of the organization.)
  • Follow through on their assignments: My number one favorite trait of a board member is when they complete the assignments they have taken. There is nothing better than a board member you know will make a list of follow-up calls, write a personalized notes, or finish other action items.
  • Consistent in personal giving: This fits with my last point on follow-through, it is wonderful when a board member gives his annual gift with minimal regular reminders.
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