The A, B, C, and D’s of Effective Boards

I work with governing and advisory boards of non-profit organizations regularly. Here is what I have learned – Highly effective boards are characterized by the following A,B,C and D’s:

  • Affluent – Boards of great non-profits have affluence.  Not all members are affluent, but an active core of members have personal financial capacity.  Substantial financial gifts allow the institution to reach its Far Edge of Promise and great boards understand that they must lead with generosity so that others follow suit.
  • Believers.  Great boards are populated with individuals who believe deeply in the mission of the institution.  They give of their work, wisdom, and wealth because of that belief.  In acting on that belief, they are energetic and passionate and report feeling fulfilled by their service.
  • Connected.  Great boards have members who are willing to engage others from their spheres of influence.  They are regularly looking for other partners and partnerships that will help the institution become stronger and serve its constituents better.  They are door openers.
  • Diverse.  Great boards are populated with members who have diversified experiences, contacts, and worldviews.  Better decisions come from dedicated members who bring a variety of gifts and perspectives to the table.  In addition, a diversified board – diversified in gender, soci0-economics, geography, etc. – allows the organization to gain a wider visibility among various publics.

Look at the boards with which you work.  Do they know their A, B, C, and D’s?

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