Joining the board of directors for a nonprofit organization can be a major responsibility as well a major source of pride and excitement. Guiding a nonprofit and being along to see it obtain its goals is a worthwhile experience. But there are a few things to consider before taking on this role. Nonprofit board members should be actively involved with the organization and are expected to contribute financially in some shape or form whether this be through giving your time, dedicating your skills towards advancing the organization, or donating money. Before making the decision to become involved with a board of directors, make sure you understand the commitment you’re making as well as the organization you are serving.
1. Can I see a copy of your latest IRS Form 990?
A form 990 is the form submitted to the IRS to determine whether or not a nonprofit organization can maintain its tax-exempt status. This form will include all of the nonprofits income and expenses including any money they have awarded through scholarships or grants, salaries of the organization’s five highest paid employees, donations, fundraising, etc.
As a potential board member, you can use this form to evaluate the financial health of the nonprofit and whether its spending and saving habits fall in line with your expectations as a future member on their board of directors. Most nonprofits will make this form available to those who request it and some may even be found online through sites like Guidestar.
2. How much will I be expected to give each year?
When you join a board of directors for an organization, it is usually expected that members will make some sort of personal contribution to the organization themselves. Board giving is a common way to demonstrate your support to the organization you serve and also positions you as a role model in the community for other donors. Expectations can vary based on the nonprofit you are working with so be sure to get informed before getting involved.
3. How much will I be expected to raise each year?
Fundraising should always be one of the top priorities for board members. This is one of the key ways many nonprofit organizations raise enough money to accomplish their goals. Board fundraising can look like a variety of situations from creating connections with your own circle and identifying prospective donors to helping with fundraising initiatives and requesting gifts. It also includes bringing in resources, support, and skills into the organization.