What do you think of when you hear the word “matrix.” And no, we’re not talking about Keanu Reeves! We’re going to discuss a board matrix, sometimes called a board profile grid. What is it? Does your nonprofit need one? How do you use it? Using this simple tool can provide the most diverse and skilled board possible.
A board matrix or board profile grid is a tool that an organization can use to track the demographics, skills, and areas of expertise of members. It is a quick and easy way to look at a board of directors. Furthermore, it can be a valuable tool in the development of a board of directors.
Often the board profile grid is a spreadsheet or table that lists the current board members with categories of demographics and a list of skills that board members bring to their membership on the board. It can also include what kinds of resources and professional connections that a board member brings to the nonprofit.
The general categories of a board profile grid are age, gender, race/ethnicity, areas of expertise, community connections, fundraising ability, and experience as a board member. Some board profile grids also include the constituencies that the board members represent. The grid also includes the expiration of the board members’ elected terms.
As a nonprofit develops, there is a need to not only professionalize the day-to-day operations, but also to develop the board’s influence and expertise as a vital part of the nonprofit’s growth. The board profile can be a valuable tool in making decisions about recruitment and the ways in which the board needs to grow. It is also an affirmation of the ways in which members of the board of directors bring valuable skills and talents in representing the community.
Besides identifying needs, you can use your board matrix to evaluate your current efforts. Are the majority of your board members on the younger side? Maybe you have too many lawyers? It might be an indication to scale back your involvement with young professional attorney groups, for example.
Use the board grid to have a robust discussion of recruitment of new board members. Decide what is needed to be a well-balanced board. Recruiting for the skills that are needed on the board improves the decision-making ability of the entire group. Additionally, reviewing the demographics of the board indicates the ways in which the nonprofit represents (or doesn’t) the community it serves.
Looking at the areas of influence of board members helps the board reach out to a larger part of the community. Do you really need more connections at a university in your town, but your board matrices are empty in that area? Set some goal for outreach, and start filling in those charts!
Search online for a board matrix (and stay tuned for one coming out soon from Boardable) and go over it at your next board meeting. You can fine tune it over time, and start identifying goals. As the months and years go by, your nonprofit will soon have the strongest board possible.
Interested in how to make your board of directors more productive through the effective use of technology? Boardable is a software platform that centralizes all communication between you and your board. Find the best meeting times, securely store all of your documents, archive discussion threads and more—all in one board portal. Click below to schedule a demo with a member of our Boardable team.