Board Development

Your Board of Directors is a critical asset to your leadership and you want it to add energy and capacity to your efforts. You want Board members who contribute their talents, work well together and take ownership of their role [not yours].  To get the governance your organization needs, design a Board development plan.

Boards change over time

– and so does what the organization needs from its Board

Getting help with Board development is not a sign that there is something wrong.  All social change organizations will find that the Board needs time to focus on its own functioning if it is going to adequately fulfill its role.  Board membership changes, the organization changes, and the dynamics of the group can get out of sync with the needs of the organization.  The key is to approach the Board with the same strategic frame that the Board applies to the organization itself.

The strategic BoardOMB Watch power mapping

“How can we, the Board, best strengthen the organization, both short and long-term?” This Board understands that an active and engaged Board with a deep partnership with the Executive and staff is one of the most critical factors for an exceptional organization.  This Board:

  • Invests time reaching agreement on its role and its priorities;
  • Makes sure the organization pursues its mission strategically
  • Provides the oversight that strengthens the organization, and gives confidence to funders;
  • Organizes itself to support the organization’s success and financial health;
  • Learns from existing best practices,
  • Reflects on its functioning, is strategic about its composition, and takes responsibility for organizing itself to succeed.

Getting help with your board

Board development often begins with a self-assessment survey to identify areas of focus.  Does the structure and membership of the Board need to change?  Roles and responsibilities?  Norms and behaviors?  Once the Executive Director and Board have identified the key issues, a development plan can be put in place.  This might involve training, team building, or sub-committee work.


Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundations. Panel on the Nonprofit Sector (October 2007). 33 practices designed to support board members and staff leaders of charitable organizations.


Contact us for a free consultation about your Board and how to move it to the kind of Board your organization needs NOW.