Be A Courageous Board Member For A Non-Profit Organization

By: Brittany Stinocher

When becoming a board member for a non-profit organization, the generalization is that one should bring to the table a passion for the cause, non-profit expertise, or connections for fundraising. However, there sometimes tends to be one quality missing from non-profit boards.

Board design of a non-profit board typically works against a board member who brings this quality to the organization. For example, The Philanthropy Journal provides why this is true with the word “courage.” Some synonyms of the word courage include “bravery” and “valor,” which have positive connotations. However on the other hand, the words “nerve” and “audacity” are not considered positive behaviors.

bigstock-Business-Man-Asking-A-Question-13987232.jpgIf you were to serve on a non-profit board and have concerns about a decision for the organization, would you speak out? Would you ask the tough questions to discover the best possible solution for the situation?

Theoretically, speaking out should be easy to do, as it is a responsibility of a board member. Yet, sometimes one is reluctant to speak out for they don’t want to be seen as negative towards another board member. However, ask yoursNonprofit_Board_1_sm.jpgelf, what could the impact be on the organization if I do not speak up? How does this decision impact the organization as well the people our organization is committed to serving?

It just so happens that if one is thinking about something not being the best option for the board, others who are not speaking out are as well.

It is my belief that everyone should have the courage to say what he or she believes, especially when not in agreement with other board members. To one’s surprise, others may jump in and express support. Regardless the outcome, having the courage to discuss a sensitive topic will result in a positive, productive discussion.

Now is the time for board members to lead with courage and not be distracted by other’s opinions. One must have the courage to speak out and not settle for anything less!


Brittany Stinocher is a junior at the University of Iowa who is studying Journalism & Mass Communication and currently working on receiving a certificate in Fundraising & Philanthropy Communication. She is very passionate about the nonprofit world and hopes to someday work for a nonprofit sports organization.


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