An associate board is a group of young professionals who rally behind an organization and use their own time, experience, and resources to further its mission. While it can be structured in a variety of ways, it commonly consists of an executive committee made up of a “chair” and “vice chair” with additional support roles such as “fundraising chair”, “events chair”, and “engagement chair”, as well as general members who could be split among the various arms of the board to help carry out its goals.
Typically, organizations start an associate board as a means of:
- cultivating future donors, advocates, and leaders;
- broadening its reach to younger networks; and
- expanding its human capital.
Our goal was to understand the various aspects of creating, maintaining, and developing an associate board, and to bring to light the challenges and opportunities expressed by our partner organizations.
In obtaining data for this report, a total of 11 interviews were conducted with six organization leaders and five associate board members from KACF’s grantee partners. Participating organizations had annual budgets ranging from $1 million to $27 million and full-time staff numbers ranging from nine to over 240. The state of their associate boards ranged from one that had temporarily ceased activities to one that is involved in supporting multiple departmental functions across its organization.
Interviewees reported lack of organizational capacity, misalignment between the organization and associate board, and succession planning as the greatest challenges to developing and maintaining their associate boards.
Read our latest white paper produced by HeeJae An (2022-2023 Capacity Building Fellow) to see the insights and best practices: