How to be a better board member.
January 9, 2011 8:06 PM   Subscribe

Are there any good books that address serving on a board of directors?

Hi, I have recently been named to serve on the board of directors of a non-profit organization. This is my first experience serving in such a capacity and I was wondering if anyone knew of any good books or other resources that would help me learn how to serve in this capacity more effectively.

posted by perelman to Human Relations (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
To some degree, the legal responsibilities of non-profit board members depend on jurisdiction, so it would help to know where your organization is registered/domiciled/conducts meetings or business. In the U.S., there may be specific training available from your state, such as that offered through the Ohio Attorney General's office.
posted by paulsc at 8:52 PM on January 9, 2011

Boardsource has great resources, both on the site and through materials you can order from the site. Your fellow board members may also be able to direct you to resources that have been specifically helpful to them for the issues your board faces.
posted by judith at 9:57 PM on January 9, 2011

Doing Good Even Better is a quick read and Richard Chait has also written a lot about this. If you haven't already, try to schedule a lunch to talk to the executive director or whoever is working at the non-profit full-time, to find out what is working or not.
posted by milkrate at 11:02 PM on January 9, 2011

Maybe this is too obvious, but there are plenty of boards out there that don't even have a copy of Robert's Rules of Order. It's impossible to get anything done if nobody is even getting meetings started in an organized fashion, you know?

You might also find some interesting stuff on the Policy Governance site. I know a board that uses that model and they seem to find it really helpful.
posted by bcwinters at 8:18 AM on January 10, 2011

GuideStar is a national non-profit resource site with great articles like this one which might provide board insight.

But I really like Blue Avocado, specifically their "Board Café" section.

And, I want to give a resounding "second" to bcwinters' recommendation to check out the Carver Policy Governance model. I am a big fan of this non-profit leadership ethos, and I think it creates engaged boards who really understand why they are in the role and how they can assist the org's mission best.

Congratulations on your appointment, and thanks for your service!
posted by pineapple at 3:14 PM on January 10, 2011

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