What to Do When You're Asked to Be on a Board -Episode 23 with Guest Gary Duncan

January 29, 2019

In this podcast Gary Duncan and I talk about joining a board.




Joining a Board

I.   You are asked to consider joining a board.  How do you prepare?  Don't just show up!

II.  Prepare for the initial discussion

           A.  Approach your boss.  Is s/he OK with this?  Time commitment or conflicting priorities may be a problem.

           B.  You have duties to this board as a member.  Assess if any are a conflict for you:

                     1.  Loyalty to board

                     2.  Confidentiality of board information

                             a.  What can you publicly discuss?

                     3.  Fiduciary

                             a.  Look at their reports and investments to make sure they are on the right track:  are they solvent and their finances good?

                     4.  Involvement

                             a.  What kind of involvement do they want from their board members?

                                  work, fund raising, strategic planning, governing, advisory, etc.

           C.  Is it a Not for Profit or Public agency?

           D.  Prepare your questions.  Besides the above,

                      1.  When are the meetings?

                      2.  Who else is on the board?

                      3.  What is the Agency's scope of service?  Are you OK with this?

                      4.  Re: financial health:

                               a.  How do they generate revenue?

                               b.  Who audits their books?

                               c.  Do they have a budget?

                       5.  Do they have any outstanding lawsuits?

                       6.  Do they have Directors and Officers liability insurance?

                       7.  What type of orientation do they have for new board members?

                       8.  What type of culture does this board have?

                       9.  What's in it for you?

                               a.  New information?  New processes that could be helpful to you now or sometime in the future

                               b.  Contacts?  These can be helpful down the road if you are looking for another job, etc.

III.  Go back to your boss and update information on what is expected of you and discuss potential involvement

IV.  You've joined the board!

          A.  Read the previous minutes ahead of time

          B.  Study the financials

          C.  Look over the agenda:  be prepared!

          D.  If you miss a meeting, make it up ahead of the next meeting.  Have coffee with the board president, etc. to get up to speed.

          E.  Share your experiences.  They brought you to the table because of your background/ talents/ experiences

          F.  Don't be bashful.  Check out discrepancies, ask questions

          G. Don't over commit.  Learn the board.

          H. Stay out of operations.  If you have questions, go to the Executive Director or Chair and ask privately

          I.  You are the eyes and ears of the board in the community.  Work through the board and staff

V.  Much of this is the same preparation you should do when considering a new job

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