One of our struggles over the past couple of weeks has been trying to identify board members to start our non-profit. 

When we first sat down on that First Tuesday we made contact lists for possible Board members.  We immediately thought of people who have experience working with the demographic of people that our mission is focused on: formerly homeless and formerly incarcerated. We listed mentors, people we volunteered with, educators that we know and respect…all people who have firsthand experience working in related fields.

Through subsequent research, we have since learned that this initial list will serve not as our Board of Directors, as we originally thought, but as our Board of Advisors.  This we explain below, so stay tuned…

What we have decided to do is create an Interim Board while we are in the process of creating a Board of Directors and a Board of Advisors.

Interim Board:

As we learned when we filed Articles of Organization, in Massachusetts you are required to have three positions that must be filled in order to create a legal entity: President, Secretary, and Treasurer. These positions how ever can be the same individual.  Interesting, and convenient to two people like us looking to get started on a short timeline.

We at tuesday, inc.  decided that we wanted to find a single individual who’s experience showed that they would be capable of filling all of these roles in the interim. What type of indivduals would be a good match to fill these roles ?

As much as most people find it tragic to have lawyers as friends, every now and again it pays off.  (that one is for you, J.) We chose a corporate attorney with a background in tax law to fill the three positions on an interim basis. This symbiotic relationship provides our attorney friend J. with experience working on Board of a nonprofit, and provides tuesday, inc. with a valuable resource: an attorney that can work  pro-bono during our startup process and answer ad hoc legal questions.

If you do not happen to have any attorney friends, think creatively about an accountant, an educator, or someone that could contribute to your startup process. We also strongly encourage choosing someone netural to your organization or partnership. Also, make sure you sit down and outline the conditions of the Interim position (in writing) and outline what possible continued involvement might look like.

Board of Advisors:

The advisors that we have looked at would be indivduals that we thought would have a excellent perspective on our ideas and more importantly have direct experience working with our target populations and/or in related fields.  We also plan to structure this so that one or more of our Advisors sits on the Board of Directors, so as to keep the two closely linked and so that the Advisors have a say in the formal structure and programming at tuesday, inc.

Our Board of Advisors will be the people who immediately came to mind when starting tuesday, inc. These are the people we have worked closely with and some whom we are still meeting, but they are people who in large part have devoted their lives and careers to a similar mission of tuesday, inc. and can therefore get behind the organization’s mission and help guide the services we will provide.

Board of Directors:

Finding a Board of Directors will be more challenging. We have learned, through various articles, conversations with friends in the nonprofit arena, and even webinars, that the Board of Direcotrs needs to be two things: a source of funding sources and people who have experience running a large organization.

Here are some other things to keep in mind when thinking about a Board of Directors:

  • Backgrounds and contacts that differ from–but complement–those of the other directors.
  • Willing to learn about the substantive program area of the organization.
  • Prepared to set side any potential conflict between their personal or individual business interests to support the well-being of the organization.
  • Willing to prepare for and attend board and committee meetings.
  • Willing to contribute personal and financial resources to the organization
  • Willing to cultivate and solicit outside funds.
  • Can open doors in the community.
  • Can recruit board members and other volunteers.                      (Source: Thank You to SCORE!)
  • For tuesday, inc. this means that many of the Directors will most likely be people we haven’t even met at this point, as most of our present contacts will fill Board of Advisors. Where are we going to find Directors? We will start here, lucky us!