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Nonprofit ​Board ​Member ​Basics

An online course for nonprofit board members. ​The expert content you need, in a flexible format ​you want.

Nonprofit board member shaking hands with others in nonprofit board meeting about best practices, governance, non-profit management.

Course Features

Enroll yourself or your entire board into the Nonprofit Board Member Basics online course and get a year of ​access to the interactive, work-at-your-own-pace modules. For the board experience, flat-rate pricing ​includes every board member and every staff member charged with working with the board.

10 Modules, 15 Minutes Each

Each module includes instruction and interactive guided ​reflection in an immersive and intuitive online learning ​environment.

Suitable for Group or Individual Learning

The course can be completed individually from home or ​together at board meetings or at a board retr​eat.

Become a “Certified Effective Board”

Upon course completion, your board can request review for ​this designation from the Nonprofit Help Center.

Robust Resource Library

Recommended resources are also included to support ​additional learning and exploration.

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Topics Covered Include:

Duties & ​Expectations

of Board ​Members

Nonprofit board meeting with five people around table, with nonprofit board members working on training to be the best board members they can be.

Board Member Duties

We begin with the duties of care, loyalty, ​and obedience, and introduce mission creep, ​conflicts of interest, charity of choice, public ​trust, and nonprofit ethics.

Setting Expectations

We look at how board member job descriptions ​build participation, ambassadorship, learning, ​and fundraising engagement, and consider the 5 ​“T”s, bylaws, term limits, and quorum.

Nonprofit Governance vs. ​Nonprofit Management

We highlight where collaboration, ​communication, and boundaries can exist ​between the differentiated roles of board ​members and professional staff.




Two board members discussing nonprofit board member training, smiling at each other.

Bringing the Mission to Life: ​Vision, Values, and Strategic ​Planning

We introduce how the strategic plan breathes life ​into the nonprofit’s mission, vision, and values. We ​explore social impact, theory of change, ​community-based evidence, and acccountability.

Executive Director Relationships

We look at the four phases of the executive-board ​interaction (hiring, evaluating, building ​relationships, succession planning), plus looks at ​accountability manifestos, strengths emphasis, ​and capacity assessment.

Nonprofit Board Member ​Engagement

Through the lens of building a positive board ​culture, we look at what an effective board meeting ​and retreat includes. We define participation, ​engagement, attendance, and involvement.

Today’s ​Nonprofit ​Leadership ​Landscape

Five nonprofit board members standing in a line and looking at camera.

Diversity in the Nonprofit ​Board Room

We detail the benefits of diversity in the nonprofit’s ​leadership structure and offer several ideas for ​creating a more inclusive board space with the ​goal of generating belonging across the board.

Constructive Conflict & Change ​Management

Three change models are presented, as well ​as pro tips on how to manage and navigate res​istance as well as differentiating between positio​ns and inte​rests to foster healthy conflict.

Leadership Styles for ​Nonprofit Board Members

We look at how leadership styles can build and ​maintain a culture that embraces all voices and ​allows space for concerns. Five leadership styles ​are described, and the components of adaptive ​leadership are detailed.

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Enroll Today

Individual enrollments are $150, ​while full board enrollments are ​just $1,000.

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Are you ready to take your learning one step further?

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You'll gain immediate access to 9 courses that will walk you through what skills are needed to lead and succeed around this area, what it looks like when done effectively, how to lead efforts that embrace best practices around Board Fundraising, how to set goals for yourself and your team to improve in this area, and finding the motivation to put all of your learning into practice.

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About the Creators

Dr. Emilie ​Socash

Founder of ​the Nonprofit ​Help Center

Dr. Emilie Socash headshot

After working in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years, I ​knew that I wanted to do more to support the amazing ​people who power our communities. My career has ​included launching a nonprofit theatre company, building ​a $50m community foundation, leading a community ​center capital campaign, and revitalizing the community ​perception of a struggling nonprofit. While each of these ​roles were exciting (and challenging!), I saw first-hand ​how limited budgets too often led to limited access to the ​resources that could really help every staff and board ​member develop their fullest capacity...and make their ​fullest impact.

Elle Benson

Founder of ​Nonprofit ​Leadership

Elle Benson photo with Elle standing wearing a yellow dress and leading a nonprofit leadership workshop

Elle Benson is a renowned national consultant who ​specializes in helping organizations transition to greater ​impact and build capacity. She founded Nonprofit ​Leadership LLC to support the social sector. With a ​remarkable career in the nonprofit sector, she has gained ​extensive expertise in various areas, including ​organizational development and change, executive ​transition consultancy, strategic planning, leadership ​development, and board governance. Academically, ​Benson holds an MBA in organizational change and a ​Bachelor of Arts degree in business. She has obtained ​certifications in BoardSource and Group Facilitation to ​support nonprofit board of directors.

Benson's TEDx talk has catapulted her into the spotlight as ​a highly sought-after keynote speaker. She is the author of ​two books that focus on mindfulness and happiness. Her ​publications, "Cultivate Your Happiness: Mama-to-Be" and ​"Cultivating Calmness in Children," provide practical ​strategies and insights making happiness obtainable daily.

What else ​can the ​Nonprofit ​Help Center ​do for you?

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Leverage the power of the Impact ​Capacity Assessment Tool.

Activate every team member through ​our immersive, Merit® Nonprofit ​Professional Development online ​microlearning platform

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