Ideal board members should all have qualities that link up with the ethics and values driving your organisation such as accountability and human dignity.

The board also needs people with various skills to function effectively – not everyone has to have all these skills, but collectively they will contribute to a strong board.

In putting together your board, you need these qualities and skills together with key principles to ensure a well-represented board, for example:

  • Gender (including at least an equal number of women)
  • Diversity (with a cross-section of people with different experiences)
  • Knowledge of the community, context and sector in which an NPO works

Key qualities of board members

  • Understand role of board and organisation’s vision and mission
  • Passionate about the NPO’s aims and work
  • Empowering and supportive
  • Team commitment and team building
  • Well respected (within organisation and sector)
  • Leadership and vision
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Accountability and transparency

Key skills needed on the board

  • Familiarity with the content of the NPO’s work and the issues affecting the sector it works in
  • Communication
  • Administrative
  • Human resources management
  • Organisational strategy and planning
  • Monitoring and evaluating
  • Fundraising
  • Financial planning and management
  • Legal
  • Marketing and public relations
  • Business
  • Information technology

You might not be able to find all these skills in your community. The most important thing is for your board members to be passionate about your organisation, to attend board meetings and to take responsibility for oversight, especially the spending of funds.


Attracting Support Toolkit for NPOs: Book 1 | Building an effective non-profit board – How should your board govern and sustain your organisation? For a copy of this resource, click here.

Related Resource:

Identifying potential board members