Be selective. Directors today are far more conscientious and cautious in accepting new board positions. Before joining a board, ensure that you understand the organization's business, its management team, the board structure, compensation plan, and time commitment.
Ask the Search Committee
- What are the organization's major issues and needs?
- What documents should I review?
- How do you orient new directors?
- Whom should/can I meet with? (independent directors, CEO, CFO, others)
Ask the Independent Directors
- What is the organization's management style?
- What is the culture of the board?
- What is the current succession plan for executive management?
- What external sources do you use for industry/company performance?
- How much time do you spend with managers not on the board?
Ask the CEO
- What do you hope I will contribute?
- Can I see the last 3 board packages?
- Over the next 3 years, what is the best - and worst - that can happen for the business?
- Who is your most dangerous competitor - why?
- What do you take to the board for approval?
- What succession plan is in place for your position?
- Is the organization engaged in any significant legal action?
- Were there any significant accounting adjustments resulting from last year's audit?
- Are there any major blocks of stock represented on the board? If so, what are their objectives?
Ask the CFO
- What is your approach to the treatment of major accounting policies?
- What is your level of interaction with the board?
- What is the organization's relationship with its outside auditor?
- How do you evaluate the Audit Committee's work?
- How do you think my background would add to the board's effectiveness?
- What is your evaluation of the board's understanding of the organization's financial statements?
Ask Yourself Before Joining a Non-Profit Board
- Is this the right cause and organization for me?
- Can I work with this organization and this board at this particular stage in its life?
- What can I or will I contribute to this organization?
- What do I want to get out of being on the board?