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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 identifies promising candidates and makes the connection. Nonprofits then meet one-on-one with each candidate and together begin the process of deciding whether it’s a strong match. 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?

At BoardLead, we welcome nonprofits and charities to apply to partner with us in service of advancing your board development practices.  BoardLead is designed for nonprofit organizations eager to develop and grow their Board of Directors.  The BoardLead application process entails organizations completing the full BoardLead application (which typically takes ~90 minutes), and then potentially engaging with our team in a video interview call.  For organizations then selected as BoardLead nonprofit partners, we will work to match a BoardLead candidate to your organization for your consideration as a new board member.  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. Your organization should be looking to build and strengthen your Board of Directors, which is a governing board with fiduciary oversight responsibilities.
  3. Your board has a minimum of five (5) board members.
  4. Your bylaws must permit new board members to be vetted and elected in a 3-4 month time frame.
  5. Your bylaws must include an indemnification clause protecting board members from liability they may be exposed to because of their association with the organization.
  6. Your organization must maintain active Directors and Officers Insurance.
  7. Giving and fundraising expectations for board members comply with the following:
    • “Giving” expectation does not exceed $5,000
    • “Give/Get” expectation does not exceed $15,000

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

  1. Organizations with a Board of Directors with between 6-30 board members.
  2. Organizations whose Boards have strong board structures and governance practices.
  3. Organizations with stable leadership.
  4. Organizations with a demonstrated commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  5. Established organizations that have moved out of early ‘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.  However, if you’re not sure if your Advisory Board qualifies for BoardLead, please reach out to the BoardLead team.

On the BoardLead application you will also be able to express interest in sourcing candidates for an Advisory Board.  While the program does not current serve Advisory Boards, we have plans to expand our services in the near future.

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

Absolutely! We welcome you to submit an application in the next round of the program.  Please let our team know your intention to do so and we will make note.  

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 an average 10-25 years of experience. They are mostly in their 30s or 40s and bring a range of expertises, from finance and strategy to HR, IT, marketing, legal, and more.  While this is often their first board experience, they tend to be passionate and seasoned volunteers who have self-selected to pursue this program.  BoardLead is a great way for these professionals to find nonprofit board placement opportunities and receive wrap-around training and support to serve as 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 require that you hold at least one meeting with any/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, your organization will remain in our network and will be eligible for future matches.  

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.

if we were nominated by a company or network to apply to boardlead, would we only receive matches to candidates from the partner who nominated us?

No – If selected for our cohort, you will be eligible to meet candidates from any of our partners, based on the candidate’s fit for what you’re seeking in board members, regardless of which organization made this opportunity available to you.

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 our team. Please reach out to us 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, and we encourage you to use the same vetting process you would for any other candidate you’d consider for your board as long as vetting happens within the BoardLead timeline. 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 the 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.  BoardLead also makes free training opportunities available to BoardLeaders throughout the year.

Application Questions

how long will it take to complete the boardlead application?

Typically, it takes organizations 1-2 hours to complete the BoardLead 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 answer within the section/page you’re working on completely filled out, and then hit ‘Save and Continue.’

will i be able to edit my application after submitting it?

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

the application asks for directors & officers insurance. Do i need this?

Yes – 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 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 you 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.  

Still have questions?

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