Top Questions to Ask When Choosing a Board-Matching Service
Interested in joining a nonprofit board, but not sure how to decide which board placement service is right for you?
Here’s our list of top questions to ask any board-matching service.
1) How wide is the reach of the service's boards?
Does the service offer boards serving locally, nationally, and internationally? Or just locally? Does that matter to you?
2) Does the service offer boards serving in a wide variety of interest areas?
In other words: Are they focused on youth-oriented boards alone, or do their nonprofit clients serve consumers of all ages?
Are they focused on education or poverty-relief alone, while you’d prefer a board in the arts, fighting a particular disease like Alzheimer’s or cancer, or working on environmental reform or microfinance?
Do they only service organizations that are well-established, or will they work with startups, as well?
3) How many board choices do they offer?
How many organizations do they support? Do they let you interview with more than one board at a time to give you a basis of comparison?
Often services that match only with nonprofits they fund will limit you to interviewing with one board at a time. Find out.
4) Are they clear about financial expectations?
Does the service pull out from their clients exactly how much money is expected annually from board members? Is it a total number that includes everything you must personally give, as well as what you are expected to raise from friends, benefit ticket sales, or journal ads?
5) Are there fees involved?
Does the service charge candidates a fee for their assistance?
[Related: What Will You Do for Giving Tuesday]
6) Is there a personal connection?
Is there someone at the service who will personally match you with the right board, not just invite you to a board fair or provide you with a list of nonprofits to peruse on your own?
7) How involved is the service?
Does the service stay involved throughout the matching process to answer questions and keep the interview process on-track?
8) Is there follow-through?
Does the service track their metrics to understand if the matches they effect are ones that are working long-term? Do their placements tend to stay on boards where they are placed for at least three years?
9) What's the screening process?
Does the service screen out boards that just want your money and are not really going to value your intellectual capital?
10) What is the ultimate goal?
Is board-matching the primary product this service offers, or just an ancillary product?
Choosing a board-matching service is an important first step to finding the perfect board. Asking the tough questions up front is the only way to make sure you're making the right choice.
Cynthia Remec is the Executive Director and founder of BoardAssist. Ms. Remec has been quoted or profiled in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Financial Times, Crain’s New York Business, and Conde Nast Portfolio, among other publications. She is the author of Giving Back, a guide to nonprofit board service.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Cynthia Remec is the Executive Director and founder of BoardAssist - New York's leading personalized nonprofit board matching service. BoardAssist helps high impact New Yorkers identify and join the nonprofit boards of their dreams. As BoardAssist is itself a nonprofit, there is no fee for board candidates to use their matching services. Ms. Remec has lectured on nonprofit governance at events for the business schools of Columbia, Harvard, Stanford and Wharton, as well as at forums... Continue Reading
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