Serving on a board can be a great reward filled with joy knowing that you are serving others and assisting the company/organization move forward. However, before saying, "yes" to serving on a board, consider the following:
Besides knowing why you are being recruited and thus the board's expectations of you, it is important, to find out some other crucial information, such as:
1. How long is my term?
2. What is the work style of this board? Is it a "working" board where I will be expected to fulfill a role that might be done by paid staff in a larger organization? Is it an advisory board, where one gives input but not much else? Perhaps it's a blend of oversight and hands-on.
3. How and where are meetings held? Are they on site? Across the country, or virtual? How often does the board meet? How is business conducted between meetings? How much time will I be expected to devote to board business?
4. Is there a cost associated with attending meetings? Are board members reimbursed for travel expenses? Is there an honorarium?
5. Is there an expectation of a specific donation to the organization? Will I be expected to be engaged directly in fundraising?
6. Is the organization financially healthy? Is the organization willing to disclose all of its financial information?
7. Is there adequate Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance to protect board members in case of a lawsuit or other disaster?
8. Does the organization have a good training program for new directors?
9. how formal or informal is the board? Check that against your own preferences and needs.
What Are Your Rights as a Board Member?
1. Some board experts suggest that all potential board members (and the organizations that recruit them) to know that they have certain rights. These include:
A. Full and proper training
B. Full disclosure before voting on any issue.
C. A safe and secure environment in which to conduct meetings.
D. To insist that the organization engage outside expertise when needed.
E. That the organization carry sufficient general liability and directors and officer insurance to ensure that the organization and the directors are indemnified against risk.
What should you do if you feel uncomfortable or feel that your rights are being violated? "Resign," says experts. "If you find yourself on a board that is clearly not a good fit, resign -- or at the very least, do not renew your term. It's better than banging your head against the wall."
Serving on a board can be very fulfilling and enriching. If you use the above guide template to ascertain if serving on a specific board is a 'fit' your decision and board commitment should be elevated. Good luck!