How to Become a Member of the Board of Directors

by Dianne Heath ; Updated September 26, 2017

The board of directors is the heart of an organization. The members make tough decisions such as hiring a CEO, mapping out a financial plan and maintaining ethics. Being a member on the board of directors offers benefits such as increased responsibility, enhanced experience and extra recognition. For others, it is rewarding to assist in the success of the business, organization or nonprofit that they have always cared about. The admission process and competition for becoming a member on the board of directors can be intense.

Become a well-known figure in your community to begin to expand your support base during the voting, nomination or appointment season for choosing a new member for the board of directors. Attend, sponsor and speak at events. Look in the newspaper for book clubs, wine tasting socials, museum showings and political campaigns. Make an effort to get connected to recognized and renowned community leaders by networking, then contacting them and offering to assist them in their endeavors. Over time you will become influential in your community and establish a solid reputation.

Play an important role in your community and with the business, nonprofit or organization that you wish to join the board of directors. Do this through philanthropy work, becoming a consistent donor to the organization, participating actively in associations, being an avid volunteer, becoming a leader in your industry or becoming a public servant. These positions give you experience and enable you to demonstrate you credibility, earn accolades and show exceptional judgment.

Focus on developing a relationship with the business, organization or nonprofit that you are interested in. Attend its open meetings, volunteer, donate to its cause and otherwise show that you genuinely care about the organization's mission. Have a friendly personality with a warm smile and thoughtful gifts; build trust through conversation and giving members of your target organization information about resources that could significantly assist them.

On the application, showcase your knowledge of the organization, nonprofit or business and display your understanding of financial and management matters. You will learn about the business, nonprofit or organization by volunteering for them, using their services, doing extensive research and getting to know the owners and staff. To brush up on your management and financial skills, go to seminars and take business administration courses at a local collage. In your daily life, work on budgeting and managing relations.

Become well-connected with the current board of directors to improve your chances of being approved as a member. Find where the board of directors frequent, talk to the board of directors after meetings, get to know the current candidates for board of directors and find out the partnerships that the board of directors have. Often these partnerships will co-sponsor events and other widespread efforts, so participate actively in these events.

During your interactions with the board of directors and on the application, show your unique traits and skills that would make you a valuable asset to the board of the directors. Excel in your volunteer work and in your personal life, then give anecdotes on how you were able to predict trends and make sound economic decisions that caused growth in your business or at your job. Learn how to fundraise by assisting fundraisers, or attend grant writing sessions so that you will be able to share the amount of funds you have been able to secure.


  • Boost your team work and leadership personality traits by putting yourself in situations that demand these qualities, such as organizations and leadership roles. If you don’t become a member the first time you apply, use this as motivation. Be positive and realize that you are now more familiar with the process.

About the Author

Dianne Heath has been writing professionally since 2009. Her work has been published in "The Hill," a political commentary publication, where she covered the water wars between Georgia, Florida and Alabama, as well as within California. Heath is pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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