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Nonprofit Board Service by Randy Hain

The nonprofit board – to serve or not to serve?

“Why should I serve on this nonprofit board?” It’s the fundamental question we should ask ourselves before accepting a board position. Our time is stretched thin and free minutes are precious, so evaluate any extra time commitments with thoughtful discernment.

In my first board role more than 15 years ago, I was so excited to be invited that I didn’t ask many questions. I wasn’t aware there was a right and wrong to it. Even though the mission of the organization aligned with my passions and interests, I quickly learned that the nonprofit had a dysfunctional leadership team, a poor reputation in the community and they desperately needed me to help them raise money.

It was a painful lesson for me, but I learned from it.

If you are considering joining a nonprofit board, I recommend reviewing the following questions as part of the evaluation process.

10 Critical Questions to Ask Before Saying Yes

  1. What is the reputation of the organization in the community?
  2. Is the leadership team effective?
  3. Can I speak with references and existing board members?
  4. How often are meetings and what is the time commitment required?
  5. Does the board have D&O (Directors and Officers) insurance?
  6. What will I have to sacrifice personally and professionally in order to give this organization what it requires of me?
  7. Do my passions and interests align with the mission of the organization?
  8. Will my skills and experiences help me be an effective contributor?
  9. Am I willing to champion the cause of this organization to my network and potentially ask for donations?
  10. Is there a minimum personal donation required to join?

I am a better person because I give time to serve nonprofits in our community. As I have gotten older, I’m keenly aware of what causes I am passionate about and what I have to offer. Asking the right questions made all the difference.

What motivates you about serving on a nonprofit board?


Randy Hain is the founder and president of Serviam Partners. With a successful 25-year career in senior leadership roles, corporate talent and executive recruiting, he is a sought after executive coach for senior leaders at some of the best known companies in the country. He is author and his books are available on Amazon.

Want to become a more effective board director?

Then register for The Outcomes Conference 2018. Here you will receive outstanding training from some of the most accomplished leaders and experts in Board Governance. In fact, you should encourage the entire board to come.

Contact Heather Martin at for special group rates.

Effective boards nurture the potential and future for greater Kingdom IMPACT.


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Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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