What's a typical length of board service?
October 16, 2023
And, what decision criteria would you think about using when you're considering leaving a board?

A board term is in the duration of years: 2, 3, 5, 7 years. 

There are 5 key benefits board term limits provide, according to experts.

  1. Making it easier to bring in new ideas and new perspectives to a board and its decision-making process
  2. Providing a systematic planning timeline and process for replacing needed board skills
  3. Giving a board member a chance to step down gracefully if they are burned out, have family commitments, or are ready to move on
  4. Provide a respectful and efficient mechanism for the exit of passive, ineffective, or troublesome board members
  5. Avoiding the perpetual concentration of power within a small group of people and the intimidation of new members by this dominant group
You can ask yourself have I been here long enough for this to look good?

If you are thinking of leaving, know that there’s no right or wrong amount of time for board service; it all comes down to the individual. 

Experts agree that burnout is a somewhat common outcome—especially for individuals serving on nonprofit boards. Many board members devote so much time to their organization’s cause, but it can eventually wear out an individual—especially if they’ve been carrying a large load of work on their own

When evaluating, you can ask yourself: have I been here long enough for this to look good? Experts recommend at least two years. But absolute minimum is one. You want that duration of service to be appreciable.

Ask yourself, have I delivered enough achievements for this to be good? For instance, will it help with building your board resume. Think about the length of time, number of achievements, and next steps.

Then, do you have a reasonable next step that you're ready to take? If you're ready after two years, after however many achievements, to go from a startup board to a corporate board, you can do that.


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