10 Things Every New Foundation Board Member Should Know

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    Susan Lorenz

      10 Things Every New Foundation Board Member Should Know

      You have been invited to join your local community foundation board.  You are honored but have some reservations about what you should know.  With the increasing scrutiny on nonprofit boards, what should you be asking about?  How can you prepare for this important responsibility?

      Foundation board members accept the responsibility to guide the foundation wisely and with care, to give their time and attention to ensuring that the foundation is operated for public benefit, and to ensure that legal, ethical and fiduciary standards are met.

      CommunityGiving would like to recommend a helpful resource guide to help get you started on your board member journey.  10 Things Every New Foundation Board Member Should Know is designed as a basic guidebook for the new foundation board member.  It provides an introduction to tools and knowledge essential in the first years of service on the board.  It’s also helpful as a refresher to seasoned board members.  While it is not a substitute for legal, financial or other professional advice, it will help inform you about the responsibilities that accompany board service.

      Published by BoardSource and the Council on Foundations, it’s an excellent resource.  It’s a quick reference on Mission, Values, Expectations, Inclusion, Impact, Legal Responsibilities, Fiduciary Responsibilities, Governance and Management, Mentorship and Evaluation.

      Here is a link to the article: https://www.cof.org/sites/default/files/documents/files/10-things-for-new-foundation-board-members-FINAL.pdf

      This tool was developed through a survey of current foundation board members and through interviews with board and staff at foundations in the U.S. and Canada.   In the sections, you will find information, advice, best practices, and sets of questions a new board member might ask in an orientation or as their service on the board continues.  Included, as well, are suggestions for further reading and web addresses for organizations that provide support to board members.

      Council on Foundations, http://www.cof.org and BoardSource, http://www.boardsource.org


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