I’m going to say something you might not want to hear…
Your board needs term limits.
I understand why some nonprofit organizations hesitate to implement board term limits. Your board risks losing the experience and insight that comes with long-term board members. Recruiting new board members is time-consuming and requires many resources. And of course, board members rotating on and off can disrupt the board’s workflow.
These are legitimate concerns, and I understand why some nonprofits balk at the idea of implementing board term limits–especially with an established, well-functioning board. But when it comes to term limits for your board, I truly believe the pros outweigh the cons.
6 Benefits of Board Term Limits
- Board diversification. With more turnover, it will be easier to diversify your board and bring a variety of perspectives to the table.
- More talent. Not everybody wants to or has the capacity to commit to an indefinite role of service. Board term limits allow talented and influential folks to join who can only commit to a few years.
- Keep things fresh. Avoid boredom or stagnation that can arise from long term board service.
- Avoid inequitable concentrations of power. A small group of board members who have served for many terms can lead to unwanted power dynamics, making your board less effective and less welcoming to new members.
- Offer a graceful exit. Many boards struggle to tactfully discuss stepping down from board service with board members who are no longer fulfilling their duties or whose vision may reflect an earlier phase of nonprofit.
- Increase your network of supporters. More board members (and former board members) translates into a broader network of supporters invested in your work.
Although it can be difficult to say goodbye to board members who are still passionate about the organization and effectively executing their work at the end of their term, board rotation is a best practice and a sign of a healthy board.
If you’re struggling with this issue at your nonprofit or looking for more support growing your board, don’t hesitate to reach out at email@example.com.
Whether or not your board currently has a practice of board term limits, you won’t want to miss today’s freebie: What to do at the end of your board member’s term. This short list will help you prepare to honor your board member’s time and accomplishments, compile a list of fresh candidates, and continue to engage dedicated members in other ways.