Top 7 things to consider before you join a Board/Committee.

So you have been approached to join a Board/Committee!

A question I am frequently asked is “should I join XYZ board/committee?” therefore I thought I would put together my Top 7 things to consider before joining a board or committee.

1: Interest or Passion. Does the organisation align with personal or professional interest or passion? No then forget it, life is too short to commit to something that does not fulfill an interest or passion. Yes then undertake some due diligence before you commit.

2: Time Commitment. Ask about the frequency, length of time and structure of meetings and other time commitments. Review copies of agendas and meeting minutes to gain a basic understanding of the meeting format.  Ask about the process for including items for discussion on the agenda.  Do not commit if you don’t have the time.

3: Incorporation! Is the organisation incorporated? Ask for a copy of constitution, when was it last reviewed and/or updated and who undertook the review?  With changes in legislation I would to be sure that the constitution is current and covers the relevant requirements of the Act.

4: Mission and Vision what is the organisation doing, whom they are doing it for and why they are doing it, read the organisations Strategic Planand Business Plan to gain a better understanding of the organisations Mission and Vision and the objectives that are in place to achieve both.  This should also give you an insight into the organisations governance.

5: Current Board/Committee Members.  Ask for bio’s for the current board/committee members including their areas of responsibilities, this information will help you understand the current skill set and diversity of the existing board/committee and how you can contribute.

6: Diversity of Income. When I am looking a joining a board/committee I like to consider where an organisation is place financially particularly in relation to diversity of income for the organisation. Ask for a list of the current funding bodies, duration of funding and information of the requirements of the funding.  Review the last two annual reports to provide you with the necessary background information to assist my decision making.

7: Good Governance.  Does the committee have in place a range of Policies and Procedures to enable good governance?  Who is responsible for reviewing the policies? How are Conflicts of Interest recorded and managed? It is important for you to understand how effectively good governance is being implemented and managed within the organisation.