Friday, December 16, 2011

10 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Board

In board self-assessment surveys I’ve conducted recently, I’ve noticed that both CEOs and board members are asking for more help on board member recruitment strategies. So you might appreciate the interview checklist suggested in The Wall Street Journal’s six-page philanthropy report on Nov. 28, 2011.

“Before You Join That Board…” listed 10 questions a prospective board member should ask:
  1. Can I see the organization’s annual report?
  2. Can I see the most recent audited financial report?
  3. Can I see the long-range program and financial plan?
  4. Can I see a list of current board members, titles and all affiliations?
  5. Can I see a description of board members’ responsibilities?
  6. Can I see a board organization chart?
  7. Can I see a staff organization chart?
  8. How much is each board member expected to give? Is there a minimum?
  9. How many board meetings are there per year?
  10. Can I go on a program site visit?
However, instead of waiting for a board member prospect to ask you for this information, provide it up front. I encourage Christian organization and church governance committees to prepare a 31-tab Board Nominee Orientation Binder with the above information and a whole lot more. Potential nominees will not read everything, but they’ll appreciate your heart for transparency and due diligence.

What questions are your board prospects asking you—and how do you package that information for them?


  1. Great suggestions! This is definitely worth developing. Thanks Jon for posting it! Mike

  2. Who covers travel expenses for board meetings?

    Why have you asked me to serve on your board? What do you believe I bring?

    Mission, Vision, Values statements?

  3. Good questions. Another one could be: What are my responsibilities in the development efforts of the organization?