Qualities of Good Board Members

The personal qualities of board members are critical to your board’s successful operation. Integrity, competence, insight, dedication and effectiveness are vital.

Key qualities of a good board member can be summarized as:

  • Passion – deep interest in the mission of your organization.
  • Vision and Leadership — the ability to see the big picture and the courage to set direction to achieve the organization’s mission.
  • Stewardship — the integrity to serve the interests and pursue the goals of your organization, as well as the interests of the public and your organization’s intended beneficiaries.
  • Knowledge — knowledge of your constituents and operations and organizational and managerial acumen.
  • Diligence — dedication and commitment to fulfilling your organization’s goals.
  • Collegiality — possessing a sincere and respectful attitude toward colleagues and their views.
  • Discretion — Maintains confidentiality of board discussions and speaks with one voice when representing the organization to the community.

To be an effective board member:

  • Bring your personal interests and expertise to the nonprofit, but bear in mind your primary obligation of stewardship is to the organization as a whole.
  • Come to meetings on time, be attentive and well-prepared.
  • Respect disagreement without personalizing the debate, and avoid paralysis in the face of dissent.
  • Ask questions rather than accepting the status quo.
  • Welcome information and advice, but reserve the right to make decisions based on your own best judgment.
  • Support board decisions as well as professional staff that you have appointed to serve the organization.