While determining the membership of your board committees is often more art than science, it pays to take a strategic approach.

  • Each of your board members has specific skills, experiences, and interests that may match well with a specific committee. Keep this front of mind during the selection process.
  • Ensure that your committee membership reflects the diversity of your board. This allows for varying perspectives and helps to ensure that all aspects of an issue or task receive adequate consideration.
  • To develop individual board members’ knowledge of the organization and board, occasionally rotate board members in and out of different committees.

It is also important to note there is no optimal committee size. It strongly depends on the purpose of the committee, scope of its work, and the size of the full board. A committee should always be small enough to keep all members thoroughly involved. Group dynamics can determine effective working relationships and consequently the size of the group.

The simple tool that follows is designed to help you with the committee selection process. It focuses on the five most common board committees. This does not mean that your board should have these five committees. Only ongoing board activities warrant a standing committee. Other activities are best addressed by time-limited task forces.