Skip to content

Module Thirteen – Essentials of Board Service

After co-instructing the Katherine Harvey Fellows for three cohorts, it’s fun to be back in the “classroom” with you.  Call me square, but I love board governance. The more I learn about it, the more I like it and the more I learn its essential to being a high-impact board which translates to being a high impact nonprofit.

There is one reason to be on a board – FULFILLMENT.  Board service should be a benefit to the organization where you serve, but just as importantly, it should bring you fulfillment. High-impact boards know how to find the win-win for the organization and for the board member. 

Together, we will learn about the essentials of being a board member and explore how you can ensure a win-win when considering board service.

Carrie Randolph

Carrie Randolph has seven years of experience as Executive Director of Leading From Within, ten years of experience as a board member, and thirteen years of experience with Patagonia, a leader in corporate and social responsibility. As Leading From Within’s first executive director, Carrie built the organization’s board from the ground-up and, as its direct report, she worked in close partnership with the board and its members.

Carrie is on the board of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, an organization that is almost sixty years old and has 40 board members.  She served on the governance, development, programs and executive standing committees.  Additionally, she served on the CEO selection committee and chaired the onboarding committee as well as serves on multiple sub-governance committees, an outcome of a recent board self-assessment.

Carrie is the incoming board president for African Women Rising which focuses on improving the lives of women and children recovering from post-conflict in Uganda.  A younger nonprofit, it has just seven board members.  In this role, Carrie is leading the organization’s first strategic planning process and ensuring board best practices.

Carrie was formerly on the board of the Eleos Foundation, a foundation funding early stage social ventures globally. In this role, Carrie was part of an involuntary CEO transition and merging the organization with Global Partnerships.

She is also on the executive leadership team for Direct Relief Women and is excited to have our session be at an organization near and dear to her.

READ: “What’s the Point of a Nonprofit Board, Anyway?”

Read the Article (opens in a new window)


  1. What questions do you have about board service?
  2. What questions do you think you should ask before joining a board?

Watch + Respond


  1. What questions do you have about board service? 
  2. What questions do you think you should ask before joining a board?

Class Discussion

There is no class discussion this month.

Upcoming Events & Key Dates

April 14, 3:00-5:00PM | The Power of Convening (with Ken Saxon); Location SBF Board Room; (optional HAPPY HOUR to follow session)

May 15, 12:00-5:00PM | Retreat – Bringing it All Together
Location:  Montecito Covenant Church, 671 Cold Springs Road

June 12, 2:00-5:00PM | Final Presentations to Community
Santa Barbara Foundation, 1111 Chapala Street

June 12, 5:30-8:00 | Launch Celebration
Foundation House, 300 East Islay (at Garden St.)

Additional Resources

BoardSource Recommended Governance Practices

I like how clearly this document outlines governance practices and how it breaks it into three categories: Essential Practices, Leading Practices, and Compliance Practices.

National Nonprofit Council of Foundations Individual Board Member Assessment

There are many worthy board self-assessment tools. To start, I like how this simple form hits all the key areas of being a board member without overcomplicating things.

BoardSource Key Financial and Related Questions All Boards Should Ask

Janet Garufis, President and CEO of Montecito Bank and Trust and a highly experiences board member has serious concerns about board members across the county knowing their fiduciary responsibilities. With this in mind, I include this doc. We might not all be in a position to chair the Finance committee for a nonprofit, but this doc helps us ask the right questions in language any board member can understand.

LFW Board Member Responsibilities

Every board should have these and you should ask to see them before joining a board.

Every Board’s Must-Have Documents

Even the most organized, responsible, and amiable board needs to document its activities, internal rules, and processes. Some of the documentation is legally required while some is simply helpful to have.

Commit A Random Act of Kindness
Billboard Massachusetts Turnpike

Friday 6:08 AM bill-bored

nonsense on auto-pilot

office stuff roars red-line

right through the weekend

so kill-it & I shall absolutely

randomly commit all sorts

of sordid desperate foolish

whimsical acts of mind-matter 

fleshed haphazard soon for-

gotten poetically benevolent

known for her many unknown

kindnesses aimless unconnected

to truth flames winds change!

Back To Top