There are many characteristics that make a successful board member, from the wealth and social connections to experience in a specific field. There are some intangibles, however they make a great director. These include the ability to think outside the box and the ability to remain detached when discussing sensitive topics.

It’s also important for boards to have board members with the required communication skills as they are often required to share sensitive information during meetings and out. Board members must be competent in communicating effectively in both written and verbal form. A successful board member must have a strong moral code and an interest in the company to be successful.

The right mix of board member is crucial to the success of a non-profit. For example the addition of creative directors to the board could provide an entirely new perspective to issues that might be stalled in a rut, or simply not being addressed effectively. In the same way, adding an expert in finance can ensure that crucial financial issues are being looked at from a variety of angles.

The nominating board must spend the time needed to ensure that the new board members have sufficient knowledge and are independent. A good nominating committee will seek candidates with a variety of skill sets, including an understanding of the nonprofit’s operations and strategies, as well as the stakeholders. It is vital that the board does not have overlapping memberships as this can limit its effectiveness.