Nonprofit Roundtable: Board Member Best Practices

Discussing best practices for board membersNonprofit organizations are the core of Park City’s health and well-being. When they thrive, so does our community. Our annual event, Live PC Give PC, empowers nonprofits to fundraise and spread awareness. As the organizer of Live PC Give PC, Park City Community Foundation builds broad engagement and diverse support to create wide community impact.

We encourage nonprofits in our community to work together to create a more complete, sustainable, and inclusive philanthropic community. With this education comes better governance and financial responsibility, which leads to stronger, more viable nonprofits. In 2018, board members, nonprofit employees, and executive directors participated in our nonprofit roundtables. The final nonprofit roundtable of 2018 was specifically for board members and provided an informative discussion on issues board members face.  Topics included how to get the most out of nonprofit board member meetings and tips for improving board member diversity.

Whether your board is new and going through the process of hiring an executive director, or you’re a longstanding organization with a well-established presence, all boards go through challenges that take collaboration to overcome. It is important to remember the importance of everyone’s opinion. Establishing guidelines can help board members make the most of their time spent together.

Key guidelines to establish for board meetings:

  • Begin and end on time
  • Don’t speak over each other
  • Respectful of each other
  • Can strongly disagree but do it respectfully
  • Speak with one voice outside of the boardroom
  • The chair will respectfully redirect and jump in to shorten someones speaking if it goes on too long or is tangential
  • Expect an agenda and prep materials ahead of time
  • Everyone is accountable and will hold each other accountable for commitments
  • End each meeting with clear action and accountabilities
  • Action: Try to talk with your chair or Governance/Board Development Committee about establishing these guidelines and take some action!

Every board seat is valuable

Board members travel and that can present a problem with attendance. Remember that every board seat is valuable. Be clear about what is expected and who is needed on your board to be a well-rounded voice of our community. Many have expressed concern to board members that it would be desirable to have younger voices at the table. This is a challenge to overcome.

Tips for adding diversity 

Following are some barriers for younger and more diverse people joining a nonprofit board.

  • Organization’s requirement or the perception that board members are required to make a large, personal donation
  • Lack of information on what it entails to be a board member and lack of information on who is looking for board members
  • Time of meetings and how often the group meets
  • ACTION: Do you have a Governance and Board Development Committee that you could approach the above issues? If not bring it to the Board Chair as an item you would like to review as a board.

Don’t be afraid to bring these issues up with your fellow board members or board chair. Remember, part of your job as board members representing the community is to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Keep up the great work, and thank you for voicing your overall appreciation for the Community Foundation and for their continued support for these Roundtables.

Click here for a complete list of our nonprofit roundtable dates and classroom locations.

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