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Nonprofit Partner Guide

Thinking of applying but not sure if BoardLead is right for your nonprofit organization? Check out our FAQs to get a better sense of our program and process. If you’ve read through the document and still have questions, please reach out to BoardLead for clarification!

Getting Started

What is BoardLead?

BoardLead elevates and transforms leadership in the social good sector by partnering with top companies, professional services firms and foundations to recruit, place, train and support talented professionals for high-impact board service.

Through a rigorous recruitment, training, and matching process, BoardLead will identify promising candidates and make the connection. Nonprofits then meet one-on-one with each candidate and together begin the process of deciding whether it’s a “match made in heaven.” For the candidates ultimately vetted, nominated and elected to boards, we provide governance training and offer one-on-one support they need to make an impact on day one.

Who pays for BoardLead?

BoardLead is offered free of charge to our nonprofit partners! Costs are generously covered by our corporate partners and other funders.

Should I apply to BoardLead?

BoardLead serves 501(c)(3) social good organizations eager to develop and grow their Board of Directors.  BoardLead candidates bring passion for the mission, keen intellect and skills, an understanding of good governance, and a readiness to generate resources for their organization.

PRE-REQUISITES: Organizations must meet the following qualifications to apply:

  1. A 501(c)(3) organization
  2. Seeking candidates for the governing board (usually referred to as the “Board of Directors”) with fiduciary oversight responsibilities.
  3. Board has a minimum of five (5) board members currently serving.
  4. Bylaws permit new board members to be vetted and elected in a 3-4 month time frame.
  5. Bylaws include an indemnification clause for board members.
  6. Organization carries an active Directors and Officers insurance policy.
  7. Giving and fundraising expectations for board members comply with the following:
    • New York City: 
      • “Giving” expectation does not exceed $5,000
      • “Give/Get” expectation does not exceed $15,000
    • All Other Markets
      • “Giving” expectation does not exceed $5,000
      • “Give/Get” expectation does not exceed $10,000

ADDITIONAL CHARACTERISTICS: Organizations that meet some of the following additional criteria tend to be strong fits for BoardLead:

  1. Board size is between 8-30 directors.
  2. Board has a well-functioning committee structure in place and demonstrates effective governance practices.
  3. Organization has stable leadership with no chief executive turnover anticipated in the upcoming year.
  4. Organization has a demonstrated commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  5. Organization’s life cycle has evolved beyond a proof-of-concept or start-up phase.
can boardlead work with our advisory board, not governing board?

BoardLead is designed to work with Governing Boards with fiduciary oversight responsibilities.  If you’re not sure if your Advisory Board qualifies for BoardLead, please reach out to your Round Manager. 

If now isn't the right time to apply, can our organization apply to a later round?

Nonprofits are invited to apply to BoardLead by nomination only.  There is potential for your organization to be nominated again, especially if you have a connection to the partner who recently nominated you.

The BoardLead Process: How does it work?

What is the typical Tenure of a BoardLead candidate?

BoardLead candidates have been identified by their employer as high-performing and high-priority professionals.  They’re coming with considerable management experience, and are often in management positions with on average 10-25 years of experience. They are mostly in their 30s or 40s and come to the table with a range of expertises, from finance and strategy to HR, IT, marketing, legal, and so on.  While this is often their first board experience, they tend to be passionate and seasoned volunteers that have self-selected for this program.  BoardLead is a great way for these professionals to find board placement opportunities and receive wrap-around training and support to be impactful board members.

How do you prioritize finding candidates for our board that meet our diversity needs?

BoardLead hopes to make board matching as seamless as possible by getting to know your needs and the interests of the professionals we place.  Our team makes matches considering a number of factors, including the number of available board seats each organization has, mission passion as expressed by candidates, skill alignment, and diversity needs that nonprofits highlight.  We do so with the hopes that we are able to make connections that strengthen board leadership and ultimately have the highest chance of election.  While we cannot promise that we will be able to identify a candidate that meets your specific diversity needs if your organization is invited to join the pool, we do keep this top of mind as we make introductions.

Do we have to elect our matched candidate?

No – BoardLead does not require you to elect the candidates we present to your organization.  While we do our best to make matches that appear strong on paper, we trust you to decide whether they are ultimately right for your organization.  We do, however, ask that you meet with each candidate BoardLead matches to your organization.

Is it possible to not get a match through BoardLead?

Matches are made based on a variety of factors, including expressed candidate interest. If we are unable to identify a candidate whose passions and contributions align with your organization’s stated needs, there is a chance we will not be able to make a match. However, due to the number of candidates we work with and the variety of missions represented in the pool, this does not happen often.

Will candidates be interested in my organization’s cause area?

There is a good chance! We build our nonprofit cohort to represent a wide array of mission areas, as we find that our candidates come to us with a diversity of personal passion areas and expertise.

Will we only receive candidates from the corporate partner who nominated us?

No – If selected for our cohort, you will be eligible to meet candidates from any of our partners based in your specific city.

My board might not be able to elect a candidate by the election deadline. Can I still apply to BoardLead?

This is a great question to ask your Round Manager. Please reach out to them directly with more specifics.

Can elections happen before the deadline? Can board service begin before then?

Yes – Elections can take place at any time before our election deadline. As soon as a candidate is elected, they may begin their board service.

How long will a BoardLeader serve on my board?

BoardLead candidates are expected to serve one full term of board service, once elected.  After that, it’s up to both you and your candidate to decide if they will be up for reelection.

BoardLead candidates receive “ongoing training” after their election. What does that mean?

Our team, in addition to our Good Governance Training, will also provide one-on-one consultation to candidates for the first few months after their election.

Can my current board members attend your training?

Unfortunately, our Good Governance Training is only designed to accommodate BoardLead candidates. However, we encourage our BoardLeaders to share their learnings with your board. Please note that BoardLead hosts a separate Nonprofit Learning Series, which is a multi-part webinar series designed to support nonprofit leaders in practicing diversity, equity, and inclusion through board development. This series is open to your whole board.

Application Questions

How long will it take to complete the BoardLead application?

The BoardLead application is similar to a grant application and requires that you submit detailed information on your organization’s mission, finances, current governance practices, and recruitment needs. Several of the questions require narrative responses, and the most competitive applications will demonstrate strong attention to detail. We recommend that you devote at least 2 hours to complete your organization’s application.

Can I save a draft of my application?

Yes – You are able to save each section of your application as you work through it. However, in order to save properly, you must first make sure all answers within a section are completely filled out and then hit ‘Save and Continue.’ 

Is the 5:00 pm deadline Eastern time or local time?

The 5:00 pm application deadline is given in local time.

Will I be able to edit my application after submitting it?

Yes – You will be able to edit your application at any time before our application deadline. Once the deadline passes, please reach out to your Round Manager, as they will be able to make edits from the back end of your application.

The application asks for Directors & Officers Insurance. Do I need this?

Yes – Nonprofit D&O insurance is a requirement for BoardLead, as we will not introduce candidates to your organization without it. If selected for our cohort, you will need to acquire this insurance, should your organization not already have it.

The application asks for indemnification language in our bylaws. Do I need this?

Yes – BoardLead looks to see that your organization’s bylaws include a provision indemnifying its directors and officers (i.e., board members) from liability that they may be exposed to because of their association with the organization.  Should your bylaws not include this provision, your organization will need to be willing to amend them in order to receive a BoardLead match.

What other time commitments are required of nonprofits outside of the application process and candidate vetting process?

Nonprofits selected for the cohort must attend BoardLead’s mandatory Kick-Off Webinar. This Webinar shares more specifics about our program, including information to prepare you for your first meeting with candidates.

Round Managers for BoardLead

Winter 2021

  • Atlanta, GA – Nick
  • Boston, MA – Kiana
  • Chicago, IL – Erica
  • Columbus, OH – Kiana
  • Dallas, TX – Erica
  • Houston, TX – Erica
  • Northern NJ – Gaby
  • NYC – Gaby
  • Philadelphia, PA – Gaby
  • Stamford, CT – Kiana

Fall 2020

  • NYC – Gaby
  • Bay Area – Gaby
  • Los Angeles – Erica
  • Raleigh, NC – Nick
  • Twin Cities – Nick
  • Washington DC – Erica
  • Tampa, FL – Nick

Still have questions?

Contact us! Use our contact form or contact your Round Manager and we’ll get back to you soon.