USSA Programs

Governance: Board Composition

 

Ideally a club’s board of directors should consist of team parents as well as a diverse group of objective people. It is not recommended to have a board made up of all current parents.

A nonprofit board sets the organization’s future direction, ensures that appropriate guidelines are in place and respected and creates an ethical environment that sets the tone for board members, staff and members. The board makes decisions collectively, which means that individual board members, lacking special authorization, cannot officially represent the organization or act on behalf of the full board.

As the fiduciary, the board must take special care by making informed decisions, and while deliberating, be mindful of the organization’s potential threats and opportunities. A diverse board that includes a great variety of skills, expertise, and perspectives will be more likely to accomplish this objective. In reality, it is impossible for the full board to handle all aspects of the organization with equal professionalism and attention. Although the board cannot delegate its primary fiduciary duty, it can allot aspects of its work to other work groups and/or individuals. As long as the full board retains ultimate control over what’s being done, delegation can be a wise management practice.

Use of a board matrix exercise and establishing clear guidelines for bringing on new board members can be very helpful in building a strategically diverse and effective board.

Board Matrix see worksheet

The example of a board matrix below can be used to identify existing needs when soliciting new board candidates. Further, this ensures that the board is a diverse and strategic representation of the community that the organization serves. This is an example only and may be customized for your organization. 

Board Member or Candidate

One Column for each existing board member

New Board Candidate

Years on Board

 

 

Date current term is up

 

 

Male

 

 

Female

 

 

18-35

 

 

36-50

 

 

51-65

 

 

over 65

 

 

Primary Residence

 

 

In Town

 

 

Out of Town

 

 

Part-Time Resident

 

 

Area of Expertise

 

 

Governance / Committees / Foundations

 

 

PR/Marketing

 

 

Finance

 

 

Fundraising/Development

 

 

Volunteer Management

 

 

Snowsport Education

 

 

Social Capital

 

 

Local Families

 

 

Local School District

 

 

Snowsport Industry

 

 

Government

 

 

Non-local Contacts

 

 

Access to Major Donors

 

 

Gap analysis: Once you have filledout a matrix for your current board members, the next step is to identify "gaps" represented in the martix. This can help you pin-point board needs and new board members. 

How to Handle Board Elections

This process is an example only; it can be simplified or modified as needed.

  1. In advance of openings on the board the Governance Committee uses the Board Matrix above to perform a gap analysis to identify what the current board needs by way of representation or expertise.
  2. Current Board Members identify potential board members that will meet those needs.
  3. New Candidates are proposed by the Board according to their ability to fill identified gaps.
  4. Board discusses candidate and takes an official vote to determine if the next steps will be taken.
  5. Board will move to appoint a sponsor to contact the candidate directly.
  6. The initial contact should be informal to determine if the person is interested in moving ahead with possible board service.  If they show interest in moving forward with the process, they should be given this Board Manual and a Board Candidate Information Sheet.
  7. The candidate is asked to provide the Board with a brief statement of why they would like to join the Board and the Board Candidate Information Sheet.
  8. Upon receiving the statement and candidate information the sponsor will set up a more formal meeting.  The meeting should include:
    1. No less than two other board members and the sponsor.
    2. At least one board member who does not know the potential member.
    3. At least one member of the Governance committee.
  9. Prior to this meeting the candidate is invited to attend a board meeting. The meeting with the candidate should be designed for all parties to get to know each other better and also to assess the potential member’s ability to serve the club. The following questions should be sent to the potential member ahead of time, and discussed at the meeting.
    1. What inspires you about the work or mission of the club?
    2. Can you fulfill the board’s fiduciary and legal responsibilities?
    3. Have you worked with organizations like this club or other nonprofits?
    4. Do you have sufficient time and availability to meet the requirements of the Board as described in the Board Manual?
    5. Are you aware of and able to commit to the club’s policies, including involvement in fundraising?
    6. What do you see as the main contributions, expertise, ideas, energy or contacts you can bring to the board and the club?
  10. Full board will vote on candidate either at a regular board meeting or via an e-mail vote.  The new board member will begin serving at the next board meeting, or at a pre-determined time (e.g. if they have an obligation and can’t start for a month).
  11. Within 30 days, the new member will receive an orientation.