ANONYMOUS QUESTION: Balance on Your Board

In every Nonprofit Jenni Show podcast episode, I answer an anonymous question submitted by someone who works for a nonprofit or serves on a nonprofit organization’s board of directors. These questions may cover controversial topics, or may just come from someone who doesn’t want to be publicly associated with asking the question. Please subscribe to my podcast to make sure you catch all the advice I give from my anonymous Q&A segment!

In my recent episode on nonprofit public relations, I answered the question, “How should I provide balance on my board of directors between high-profile individuals who don't have much time with others who have less notoriety but can devote more working hours to my nonprofit?”

This question is super important to consider because both types of board members are equally important to your organization. High-profile directors can help bring legitimacy to your organization, connect you with other powerful people, and contribute more financially to your cause. However, those individuals will also have far less time to help you with time-sensitive projects like event planning, auditing, and decisions that require educated votes. If you work for a small nonprofit with few or no paid staff members, you may desperately need very engaged board members, and high-profile people can't offer that.

On the other hand, if your board is full of no one but isolated retirees and stay-at-home moms with nothing but volunteer time on their hands, your board may not be able to provide the level of donations and connections your organization needs to move forward long-term.

If you work for a small nonprofit, I would recommend keeping a balance of about 1/4 high-profile individuals, and the rest as "normal people" who have the time to commit to really supporting your organization with time-intensive projects. If your nonprofit has the budget to hire a really solid, well-rounded staff, you can afford to have a greater proportion of high-profile, super-busy professionals.

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