Many of our clients consider whether to involve non-family board members either early in the formation of their foundation or at some point during the foundation’s growth and development. This article discusses factors to consider in determining whether and how to include “outsiders”: the selection criteria of non-family members for board service; practices to ensure their effective involvement once elected; and other opportunities for non-family members to help advance the foundation’s mission and goals.
Types of outsiders that our clients often bring on to their foundations include:
- Professionals with specialized knowledge (e.g., legal and financial experts)
- Representatives from the constituencies or communities that they serve
- Nonprofit practitioners in the areas the foundation funds
- Experts in a particular field where the foundation’s work is directed (scientists, artists, futurists)
- Spokespersons or thought leaders in a particular cause or field
- Politicians and other community leaders