Attributes of a Conscious Nonprofit Board member:

These eight attributes will add immense value to the Board, and all Board members have the ability to use these attributes, if they choose. 

These key attributes have been identified as the signposts to demonstrable consciousness as an individual who would add value to the governance process, and should form an integral part of the development process for potential nonprofit Board members.

Attribute 1: The ability to ask probing questions. Look for evidence and examples that the Board member understands and has used the three principle types of Board questions in previous organizations: Strategic (Why are we doing this, how expansive will this be for our organization, and how does it fit within our vision and strategic plan); Ethical (are there any issues of rights, obligations, fairness or integrity in what we plan or do) and Compliance (what does our constitution and relevant law require from us)

Attribute 2: The conscious seeking of truth. Look for evidence and examples that the Board member is not easily influenced by others, is not dependant on a collegial atmosphere, and has sought independent verification of information provided to them.

Attribute 3: A willingness to accept intuition. Look for evidence and examples that they have used their intuition and knowing to assist in making a decision, rather than acting only on other people’s information and assessments.

Attribute 4: An understanding of risks and consequences. Look for evidence and examples that risk analysis is an integrated component of the decision making process of the nonprofit Board member, and that they view risk as strategic opportunity, not a compliance issue.

Attribute 5: Automatically considers multiple scenarios. Look for evidence and examples that multiple possible futures are considered, and that “what if..” is a common filter.

Attribute 6: Willingness to confront facts and mistakes. Look for evidence and examples that there is a willingness to confront facts, without taking a fixed point of view or filtering out the information that is uncomfortable, and the fortitude to identify and correct mistakes.

Attribute 7: Ownership of performance targets. Look for evidence and examples that there has been ownership of performance targets (eg strategic plan outcomes) for the Board and organization, and evidence of actions taken to ensure those targets were reached.

Attribute 8: Custodian of the Vision. Look for evidence and examples of the Board member acting as custodian of the vision of the organization, and utilising the key intents of the Vision as a filter for decision making and resource allocation.