Start simple. You + Two Friends. Loyalty comes first.
Now that you’ve got your “Instant Impact” Statement down, you need to find friends (we recommend just two when you’re starting out) who can sit on your board. Here are a few simple principles when choosing board members:
- Close relationships: If at all possible, avoid immediate family members and close business partners. Any such relationships will have to be disclosed in your IRS Form 1023 Application for Tax-Exempt Status, and can hold up the approval process.
- Loyalty and strong relationships trump power and prestige. You have enough challenges getting all of these steps executed, without trying to find the “perfect” board member. Get the organization off the ground, then you’ll have an easier time recruiting pillars of the community.
- Let them off the hook. Tell anyone who you are recruiting for your “founding board” that the initial term is 90 days. You can create your initial board resolution (known as your “Unanimous consent resolution”) to allow for the term to automatically extend to one year if your founding members decide to stay.
- Make it “Zero Brain Damage”. Give them a one-page, bulleted list of responsibilities, and a “consent to serve” form. There should not be much work for them to do initially. You can download an example of this at our Resources page at https://heroes.do/nonprofit-501c3-resources/