Nonprofit Board Development: 3 Key Components

nonprofit board development

Nonprofit Board Development 

Donors need board members who share their passion and have the knowledge, experience and connections to advance the organization’s mission. It makes sense. But…how do you find the right people and ensure they continue to grow as responsible, engaged members of your board?

Finding Board Members Who Inspire Donors

Donors need board members who share their passion and have the knowledge, experience and connections to advance the organization’s mission. It makes sense. But…how do you find the right people and ensure they continue to grow as responsible, engaged members of your board?

If I’m a donor of your organization, I want to know you not only have a great mission, but also the right people in charge. Why? Because responsible, passionate board members will make sure my money is spent wisely, in a way that has the most impact. They’ll perform their duties with fervor and continuously look for ways to foster the organization’s success. And … they’ll connect with like-minded donors, so I feel inspired to continue donating and possibly increase my giving year over year. I may even spread the word to other donors, letting them know the board of “my” nonprofit fosters transparency and confidence through their donor communications. 

How do you recruit strong, engaged board members? Start by letting like-minded souls know you’re looking to expand your board. Use all your information channels: newsletter, social media, word of mouth, etc. Tap into your donor and volunteer bases. People who care enough to give their time or money to a cause often have the desire to participate in its management, though desire is only one of several necessary components. And don’t forget your current board members, who may know other qualified candidates. 

Key Qualities to Seek in Board Member Candidates

Once the interviewing process begins, you’ll want to ask questions that ultimately reveal your candidates’ qualifications, personality, and level of passion. They should be knowledgeable about the organization and its roots, as well as the community it serves and that community’s needs. Will the candidate’s skills and experience provide value to donors and those being served? Additionally, you’ll want to make sure new board members will make time for their critical role in effectively guiding your nonprofit. Those key qualities build confidence in current and potential donors. But to unveil each candidate’s qualities, you’ll need to ask the right questions.

Nonprofit Board Development through Education, Training & Networking

Once your board members are bought in and ready to begin their new role, they’ll need to grow into their roles through education, training, and networking. The Bridgespan Group says, “The ability to develop leaders is inextricably linked to retaining them: over 40 percent of voluntary turnover among nonprofits is due to ‘lack of opportunity for upward mobility/career growth,’ according to a Nonprofit HR survey.” Find out more about the importance of Nonprofit Board Development so you can ensure your board members are up-to-date with trends and information, stay engaged with donors, and keep apprised of what’s going on in the community you serve. Strategies for doing this include: 

  • Providing opportunities to attend conferences, seminars, and workshops.
  • Holding events where they can network with other nonprofit board members.
  • Asking them to engage with donors by making phone calls, writing letters or emails, or attending donor events. 


Depending on the organization, board members play a vital role in many different areas, from providing financial oversight to guiding strategy and contributing to fundraising efforts. In the midst of all that, it’s also essential for them to connect with donors in a way that cultivates retention, while also fostering the expansion of your donor base. To comprise your board of members who shine in these areas: 

  • Seek candidates from reputable people and organizations.
  • Use key questions to determine whether candidates possess the necessary qualities and skills to enhance your board and inspire donors.
  • Provide training and networking opportunities to board members so they stay informed, connected, and engaged with donors. 

If you are a nonprofit organization, we can help you communicate your organizational mission, vision, and values as you aim to grow with new donors, board members, and other like-minded stakeholders. Schedule a call today or visit our website to find out more about our growth strategy sessions!

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