Application: board orientation and training

Application: Board Orientation and Training

Board Governance & Volunteer Management


Board orientation is a deliberate, proactive process in which you provide board members with the policies, procedures, and information needed to govern an organization well. The goal is to give new board members everything they need to fulfill their roles and responsibilities effectively and efficiently, and to ensure that they are able to immediately participate in all board discussions and activities.

Although board member orientation needs may be fairly consistent, board member training needs are not. Each board member will come with a specific set of skills or areas of expertise, some that may be applicable to the organization and some that may not. Therefore, training needs should be determined based on what skills or areas of expertise board members can bring to the table as well as the skills and areas of expertise board members need to acquire to be successful in the future.

To prepare for this assignment:

  • Review the assigned pages in the course text, Extraordinary Board Leadership. Consider the importance of each element of a board member skills development program.
  • Think about what role education may play in enhancing the performance of returning and new board members.
  • Review the article, “Building Better Boards.” Consider what might be the best starting point(s) for orienting and training board members of an organization.
  • Review the article, “What resources and activities does your organization use for board orientation and development?” Review the tools these executives used to orient and train board members, and think about others that might be effective.
  • Review the article, “Board Orientation and Culture,” focusing on the processes and tools outlined that can improve and align board performance.

The assignment (2-4 pages):

  • Compare (similarities and differences) functions of governing board orientation and training.
  • Explain at least one conclusion you drew or insight you gained as a result of your comparison.
  • Briefly describe your Final Project organization, or a different one in which you are interested.
  • Describe two tools and/or strategies you might use to orient board members for your organization and explain why.
  • Describe two tools and/or strategies you might use to train board members for your organization and explain why.


  • Course Text: Extraordinary Board Leadership
    • Chapter 4, “Board Self-Management” (pp. 88-92)
  • Article: Nadler, D. (2004). Building better boards. Harvard Business Review, 82(5), 102-111.
    Use the Business Source Premier database, and search using the article’s title.
  • Article: Stratton, S. (2005). Board orientation and board culture. Corporate Board, 26(154), 21-25.
    Use the Business Source Premier database, and search using the article’s title.


Video: Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Board governance and volunteer management: Orientation and training. Baltimore: Author.


Support your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list only for those resources not included in the Learning Resources for this course.

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