Earned A Spot As A Trustee For A Nonprofit Organization? Use These Tips To Be Successful

Posted on: 9 April 2016

When you've achieved the role of trustee for a nonprofit organization, you might feel excited about the possibility that you'll be able to make positive changes for the organization. However, as a new trustee, it's vital to use the following tips to ensure you are an effective board member.

Be Aware of Ethics Rules

You may feel you have nothing to hide and that you are conducting yourself in a professional manner, but it is critical that you are aware of particular ethics rules and codes in place for board members.  Make sure to track down any written policies that you must follow.

Violation of rules may result in fines or your dismissal, so do everything you can to follow the code in place. If you aren't sure, check with other board members or your personal attorney. When you operate within the parameters set for your organization, others can better trust your ability to do a good job in your position.

Do Your Own Research Beforehand

Don't wait until you get to a meeting to start thinking about the issues to be discussed. Make some time to study the topic beforehand so that you are ready with questions and thoughts about them. If you can find statistics or relevant information, keep it with you to take to the meeting. Doing this kind of preparation can help the board to resolve an issue more quickly, as you are already informed and can offer ideas and solutions that the other trustees can use.

Talk with Members

Through your role as trustee, you may be very busy. Still, it is a good idea to make time to talk to the members of your organization about how they feel things are being run. After all, the Board of Trustees is making decisions that affect the members; regular conversations with them can offer you insight that can help you serve them in a better way.

Keep notes on all the meetings and talks you have with members of your organization so that you can draw on them later, if necessary. Try not to rely on your memory, as you may forget what was said in the weeks and months ahead.

With the pointers above, you can start to move your organization in a positive direction in your role as trustee. Be sure to meet with other board members and members of your organization regularly to iron out differences and do what is best for the entire group. Learn more about local community leaders, such as Katharine Hamilton, for more information about these kinds of organizations.