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6 Questions Nonprofit Board Members Should Be Able to Answer

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

On A nonprofit board?


Asking thoughtful questions correctly can be an art form. They are important to learn how to ask and answer. Thoughtful questions are open-ended, make people think, and serve to deepen understanding. They are an incredibly useful tool for anyone who wants to be in business, and not in battle. Here are some examples that you should consider being able to answer as a nonprofit board member.

6 Thoughtful Questions nonprofit board members should be able to answer:


1. Who are the people in my network that might be interested in this organization?

Who do you talk to regularly? Do they know about the good work you are a part of? Think about the people in your neighborhood, at the soccer game, or friends from work. If you are looking to grow your network, check out this monthly networking forum.


2. What is inspiring our organization to achieve its mission?

People like to be inspired. Inspiration itself has an attractive quality. Knowing what one of the current inspirations to the organization is, can help you be more engaged as a board member. It can also help you attract others. It will tie the organization to the current time and launch it into the future.


3. Where can I spread the news about the good work our organization is doing?

As a board member, you need to be on the lookout for opportunities to share about the good work your organization is doing. Are there events you know of where you or someone from your organization could speak? Don’t be afraid to share opportunities, network, and grow awareness of your organization. Opportunities like our Mission Focused Mixers or other networking events are great examples.


4. When was the last time we updated our strategic plan?

If your current strategic plan was created before, or during COVID, it is time to review and refresh the strategic plan. This document is instrumental in providing a path to mission success.


5. Why am I passionate about this mission?

It is a great time to renew your interest in your organization’s mission. Understanding your own passion will help you share with others and engage with the continued work your organization is doing.


6. How has our performance impacted the organization?

This is a question for the whole board, and each member individually. Typically, the CEO or Executive Director has an annual performance review. Board members should have one too. Were standards upheld? Were members accountable and engaged? Where are the areas for opportunity and improvement? What member skills are we strong or weak on? Do we work well as a team? If board performance hasn’t been discussed, it would be a great idea to tie it into a strategic planning event, or board retreat.

There is more to being on board than showing up to a meeting twice a year. Be aware, ask questions, and advocate; these are the three pillars of effectiveness. If you’re not where you want to be as a board, or organization, let’s chat. The best-selling book, Business Not Battle for Nonprofit Boards could be a great place to start the conversation towards improved effectiveness, sustainability, engagement, and mission success.

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