Key Qualities for Potential Board Members

Although no formal criteria exist for service on the SAA Foundation Board, the Board is committed to building a culture of inclusion and strives for a balanced membership in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, geographical area, types and size of candidate repositories, and diversity of professional interests. Membership in SAA is a key consideration, but is not mandatory when specialized skills determined by the Board (eg, marketing, fundraising, or legal expertise) warrant consideration to enhance the work of the Board.

The SAA Foundation does not require its Board members to have experience in development work, but Board members are expected to contribute actively to the Foundation’s success through such work as:

  • Providing strategic insight about raising funds, both internally and externally, to support SAAF and SAA programs in accordance with the organizations’ missions and strategic goals.
  • Contributing to creating a culture of philanthropy within the organizations and enhancing trust about how contributions are used.
  • Developing and approving an annual budget for the Foundation. 
  • Making the SAA Foundation a priority in personal giving via an annual contribution (of any amount).
  • Communicating and monitoring expectations for personal giving by SAAF and SAA leaders, with a goal of 100% participation.
  • Formulating and executing an active role in fundraising initiatives, including making personal asks and acting as a spokesperson for designated fundraising appeals/projects with set goals.
  • Actively seeking persons or businesses that have the potential to provide the Foundation with contributions, sponsorships, and partnerships and working with the SAAF staff to cultivate those relationships.
  • Attending training and in-person meetings, and following up with Foundation Board members and staff outside of regularly scheduled SAAF meetings.

The following list identifies knowledge, skills, and abilities that are useful for Board members to possess:

  • Passion for and commitment to the SAA Foundation’s and SAA’s missions, strategic priorities, and programming. 
  • Knowledge of fundraising principles.
  • Willingness to ask others to provide financial support for SAAF and SAA programs.
  • Experience in asking others for financial support.
  • Interest in and ability to champion and manage change.
  • Experience in collaborative teamwork.
  • Strong communication and public speaking skills.
  • Ability to build and maintain relationships.

Regarding more specialized skills, it is especially likely that the Foundation Board Nominating Committee will, from time to time, recruit candidates with these abilities:

  • Fundraising.  Because the chief tactic of the Board is raising funds through gifts, donations, and grants, the Nominating Committee may pursue candidates whose careers have involved considerable direct fundraising experience.
  • Legal expertise.  Because both raising funds and expending them have important legal implications, it may sometimes be necessary to seek Board members who have training or expertise in interpreting and applying laws (including tax laws) regarding fundraising and nonprofit foundation management.
  • Marketing.  The long process involved in creating a culture of giving within SAA may require strategic marketing and messaging skills beyond the abilities of most SAA members. The Nominating Committee may choose to recruit candidates with considerable experience in this area.