TOOL 3 Review – Board Nominee Orientation: Table of Contents

By John Pearson

Don’t Swallow the Board Myth!

“Recruit board members for their passion, not their position. Don’t swallow the board myth that says you need a CPA, an attorney and a fundraiser on your board. People in those positions might make great volunteers, but less-than-loyal, uncommitted board members are the last thing your organization needs.” (From: Chapter 14, “The Board Bucket,” in Mastering the Management Buckets, by John Pearson)

So how do you ensure that you have the right board candidates in your prospect pipeline who also understand your history, your culture, your strategic plan—and the dozens of other topics and issues that nominees should understand before they join the board? This tool will help!

Inspire Qualified Board Prospects to Consider Board Service—by Giving Them a Comprehensive Overview of Your Governance Documents

Tool #3 in the new resource, ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance, builds on the first two tools—“Tool #1: The Pathway to the Board,” and “Tool #2: Board Nominee Suggestion Form.”

This 31-tab table of contents can be created in a three-ring binder (for old-school board prospects), or created in a password-protected online version. It includes seven sections:
   • Introductory Materials
   • Board of Directors (bylaws, Board Policies Manual, recent board meeting agendas, etc.)
   • Finance, Budget, IRS, ECFA Reports
   • Strategic Plan and Metrics 
   • Team Members (organizational chart, senior team mini-bios, StrengthsFinder assessments, etc.)
   • Development (three-year goals and the fundraising role of board members)
   • Programs and Services (a “menu” of programs—and the annual evaluation process)

What Does Our Primary Customer Value? In the strategic plan section, many boards include their answers to Peter Drucker’s “Five Questions Every Nonprofit Organization Must Answer.” 

The questions:
1. What is our mission?
2. Who is our customer?
3. What does our customer value?
4. What are our results?
5. What is our plan?

Many Nominating Committees will keep an updated version of the Board Nominee Orientation Materials (a three-ring binder or an online version) and use it as part of the “dating” process with a serious board prospect.

But caution! Your prospects will likely be diverse. Using the social style language—are they analytical, driving, amiable, or expressive? So customize your one-on-one conversations according to your prospects’ social styles (not yours!):
Analyticals appreciate facts and information.
Drivingstyles prefer bullet points and executive summaries (don’t mention 31 tabs!).
Amiables are inspired by relationships and stories.
Expressives absolutely love four-color documents and Big Visions about the future! (And, if there’s a microphone in their future—they are blessed!)

For more on social styles—and how to communicate effectively with each style/board prospect, you’ll enjoy reading How to Deal With Annoying People: What to Do When You Can’t Avoid Them, by Bob Phillips and Kimberly Alyn.

You can order the tools book from Amazon by clicking on this title: ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance: Time-Saving Solutions for Your Board, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. The book gives you full access to all 22 tools and templates—formatted as Word documents so you can customize the tools for your board’s unique uses.

BOARD DISCUSSION: In the four phases of board recruitment—Cultivation, Recruitment, Orientation, and Engagement—where are we the most effective and where are we the least effective? What’s our next step?

MORE RESOURCES: Download the short video, the facilitator guide, and the viewing guide for “Recruiting Board Members - Leveraging the 4 Phases of Board Recruitment: Cultivation, Recruitment, Orientation and Engagement,” the first of four resources in the ECFA Governance Toolbox Series. Click here.


This article was originally posted on the “Governance of Christ-Centered Organizations” blog, hosted by ECFA.
John Pearson, a board governance consultant and author, was ECFA’s governance blogger from 2011 to 2020.
© 2021, ECFA and John Pearson. All rights reserved.

This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.