The experts in
not for profit

Inducting new board members for non-for-profits

Office colleagues having casual discussion during meeting in conference room.

Inducting new board members for non-for-profit organisations requires thoughtful communication and a clear purpose. Board members are pivotal in shaping the organisation’s mission and strategic direction. It is essential to recognise that the success of a non-profit organisation is deeply connected to the capabilities and commitment of its board members.

When recruiting board members, look for individuals with a strategic mindset and a strong track record in business, social enterprise or industry.

They must deeply understand the organisation’s purpose and social and economic trends that may impact the NFP’s functions.

While each non-profit’s specific needs and goals may differ, practical board member induction principles remain consistent across the sector.

Before applying these principles, understand the skill gaps on your current Board and seek candidates who can bring valuable connections and networks, opening doors to potential partnerships, staffing and volunteers, and advancement opportunities. Diverse perspectives are beneficial, as they can lead to innovative solutions and better decision-making. A commitment to the organisation’s mission and ethics and a willingness to collaborate, think critically and problem solve are highly valued.


Man`s hand arranged wooden blocks with idea icon

Key components of effective board member induction

New board members should have a clear understanding of the organisation’s mission, values and long-term vision. This knowledge helps align their efforts with the organisation’s goals and fosters a sense of purpose.

  • Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of board members. This includes their legal obligations, ethical responsibilities and the distinction between governance and management.
  • Ensure that new board members are aware of legal and compliance obligations specific to non-for-profit organisations such as governance standards, tax regulations and reporting requirements.
  • Provide an overview of the organisation’s strategic plan and how the board’s decisions contribute to achieving its goals. Encourage new members to actively engage in the strategic planning process.
  • Explain the organisation’s structure, including the composition of the board, committees and their respective functions. Ensure new members are aware of the organisation’s constitution or by-laws.
  • Familiarise board members with the financial statements, budgeting process and financial health. Help them understand the importance of financial stewardship and fiduciary responsibilities.
  • Introduce new members to key stakeholders, including staff, volunteers, donors and the communities the organisation serves. Emphasise the importance of diversity and inclusion and the culture of respect and equity in all aspects of the organisation’s work.
  • Identify new board members who understand their role in fundraising, including donor cultivation and grant application (if applicable).
  • Assign a mentor from the existing board members to help guide and support the new member. This mentor can answer questions, provide context and help the new member integrate into the board effectively.

Ongoing development of board members

Effective board member induction is an ongoing process that doesn’t end after the initial orientation. It’s essential to maintain open lines of communication, offer continuous training and development opportunities, and create an environment where board members feel valued and connected to the organisation’s mission.

The frequency of board meetings varies between organisations and is usually determined by the existing by-laws. In most instances, a board must meet annually at a minimum; however, it can be beneficial to meet more often throughout the year.

The continued development of board members does not necessarily coincide with the frequency of board meetings. Development opportunities for board members are important to ensure the sustained success and effectiveness of any organisation.

Board members must stay informed about evolving trends, emerging best practices and the changing regulatory landscape of the organisation they serve. Continuous learning enables them to make well-informed decisions that are in the best interest of the organisation and its stakeholders. It helps board members remain adaptable and responsive and fosters a culture of excellence within the board.

Board members who actively engage in professional development demonstrate a commitment to their roles, inspiring confidence and trust among employees, donors and other stakeholders. Continuous learning will broaden perspectives and encourage creative thinking, leading to innovative solutions and strategic insights that can drive the organisation’s mission forward. Investing in the ongoing development of board members is an investment in the organisation’s long-term success.

Read More Articles

Client Stories

LFLF partners with NFP accounting experts

“Accounting For Good is not just a single use service. They know how our organisation works... they’re very much part of our team.”

Literacy for Life Foundation

Read More

Outsourcing Secures Allevia's Future

"The collaboration of our financial management saw a quick shift to better accounting systems, practices, data and planning."


Read More

NFP accounting skills are critical for GCNA

“For us, the benefit of partnering with Accounting For Good is that they really understand not for profit accounting… ”

Global Compact Network Australia

Read More

Contact Accounting For Good