Building a Board

As Reach, Inc. moves from the start-up stage toward a more sustainable organization, Board development will be an incredibly important aspect of our work. This week, I had the great opportunity to begin thinking about how we will approach this work. To incorporate, a nonprofit organization is required to have three members of a formal Board of Directors. Our Board has been both helpful and supportive through the first six months of formal operations. Often, founding Boards do little more than approve the plans of the organization’s founder. I often tell, with pride, the story of Reach, Inc.’s first Board meeting. The Board’s first act was to cut the salary I had initially proposed. From the beginning, despite my close friendships with the founding Board members, they saw that the organization was more important than any one person.

From that time, these individuals have continued to support our work in important ways. As we work to build a strong Board, I feel it important that we build on our current strength. Our founding members will serve a vital role as we grow into the future. There are a number of factors at play as we look to recruit new Board members.
  • Skill set: There are specific skills that would be extremely helpful as Reach, Inc. grows. Specifically, we will actively seek people that have backgrounds in law, finance, nonprofit management, marketing, and government relations.
  • Money: I often get advice that it’s imperative that I get Board members that can make significant contributions to the organization. While I don’t see this as the most important factor in an invitation to join the Board, I have come to understand that it matters.
  • Diversity: It’s so important to me that Reach, Inc.’s Board represents a diverse set of individuals. Not only do we want diverse skill sets, but we want diversity with respect to race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual preference, and all the other good stuff.
Finally, it is becoming increasingly clear that other voices need to be involved in the development of Reach, Inc.’s Board. Clearly, to effectively operate, the Board can not be made up entirely of “Mark’s friends.” Our Board must demonstrate loyalty to the organization, not me. They must be willing to evaluate me, challenge me, and push me to think in new ways. Moving forward, I look forward to finding the right partners to help me create the Board that Reach, Inc. deserves. It’s both daunting and exciting.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Founder and President – Reach, Inc.
PS – Purchase your entry for Libations for Literacy, Reach, Inc.’s first public event!
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