How to Be a Board Member

The Relationship Model

“How to be a Board Member” is one of the most common phrases that volunteers use in Internet searches to learn about board governance. In thinking about a response to that search it occurred to me that the best way to respond was to provide a simple ten-statement Code of Conduct for board members.

These ten principles will guarantee that you will be the finest board member you can be and an excellent model for others to follow.

1. I am honestly committed to the Mission of this organization (or church).

2. I support this organization financially and in my conversations with others.

3. I have specific gifts and skills that I want to use in my governance responsibilities.

4. I have immersed myself in understanding our history, values, vision and mission and participated actively in an orientation to board membership.

5. I attend all meetings and come prepared.

6. I participate actively in the discussions and decision-making process.

7. I volunteer to serve on standing and ad hoc committees where my gifts add value.

8. I affirm, respect, and support my colleagues on the Board.

9. I use the authority I have in a collaborative manner, not using power in a laissez-faire or authoritarian manner.

10. I participate in a fair and healthy process of conflict resolution, not avoiding conflict or creating conflict in my relationships on the Board.

You may also find it helpful to read the blog articles “On Choosing Board Members” parts one and two. These articles contain the 20 competencies that ensure effectiveness in governance for board members.

I think it’s great that “how to be a board member” is such a popular search phrase, because it means people care about their roles and responsibilities of board membership.

You may also find it helpful to understand governance with reference to all the relationships of board membership. Have a look at the version of the book that applies to your faith-based, values-based not-for-profit organization or church.

Les Stahlke, President/CEO Inc.

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