A conversation with a nonprofit’s board member will also help you pressure test the impression you have formed to date. Does this person’s perspective align with others you have heard? Do the organization’s leaders and the board share priorities and agree on the same challenges and opportunities?
You may find that you need to work with the board to fulfill your philanthropic vision—will that sort of collaboration be possible? Talking, even briefly, with a board member can reveal how the board operates and how receptive its members are to input and new ideas.
- Why did you become involved in the organization, and what has your involvement looked like over time?
- How would you characterize the board’s role in the nonprofit organization?
- If this organization were to be on the cover of your favorite newspaper or magazine in five years, what would the story be about?
- How would you describe the goals of the organization, and how does the organization achieve these goals?
- How focused on results do you believe the organization is?
- What attributes does the executive director have that will enable him or her to accomplish the nonprofit’s goals? Are there areas of professional development on which the executive director should be focused?
- How do you bring on new board members? Tell me about the most recent addition to the board. Can you discuss the capabilities of the board individually and collectively?
- "Researching a Nonprofit's Leadership: Moderate Approach"
- "Researching a Nonprofit's Leadership: Deep-Dive"
- "The Source: Twelve Principles That Power Exceptional Boards" (BoardSource)
Stay tuned for next week’s post on four red flags to look out for when researching a nonprofit’s leadership.