I am certain the vast majority of volunteer board members agree to serve on a nonprofit board for all the right reasons — passion for the organization’s mission, commitment to furthering the organization’s work, and a desire to give of one’s time, energy, and connections. However, sometimes, a board member may find that, for whatever
reason, he or she is no longer contributing to the organization in a valuable and important way.
On the flip side, a board member sometimes discovers that, despite his or her best efforts and intentions, the organization is not operating in a way that he or she feels comfortable with or can fully stand behind.
When the fit between a board member and a nonprofit is no longer right, it may be time to part ways. In such a situation, a graceful resignation is often in the best interests of the individual member and the organization. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself when you’re wondering if you should remain on a nonprofit board.
1. Am I still deeply committed to and passionate about the mission of the organization?
2. Am I supportive and proud of the ways in which the organization is furthering its mission? Do they fit well with my own personal values?
3. Do I find regular opportunities to contribute to the organization in ways other than attending board meetings, such as committee service, community advocacy regarding the organization and its activities, financial contributions, and making connections and
introductions within my network?
4. Are the time commitments required to effectively serve the organization greater than I’m able to make right now in light of other aspects of my life?
5. Do I attend most board meetings and actively participate in them in a meaningful, collaborative, and productive way?
6. Do I regularly review and understand the organization’s financial statements, stay informed of its program accomplishments, and consider the performance and effectiveness of its chief executive officer?
7. Are my motivations for serving on the board primarily for the benefit of the organization and its mission, or, truth be told, for my own benefit?
8. Do the other board and staff members view me as a valuable part of the organization’s team, or is there a possibility that I am viewed as disruptive or noncontributing?
9. Are other commitments in my life, such as other organizations I’m involved with, personal passions, or family or business relationships, preventing me from being fully loyal to the best interests of the organization?
10. Do I have any personal, family, or business conflicts of interest that could potentially damage the reputation or goodwill of the organization if known by the public?
11. Am I familiar with the organization’s governing documents and policies, and is the organization operating in a manner that is consistent with those documents and policies, and with applicable law?
12. Do I have faith in the abilities of the organization’s senior staff members to effectively and efficiently run the organization’s operations, and do I refrain from micromanaging such efforts or otherwise stepping beyond my role as a member of the board of directors?