Board Fellowship Program
Since the Board Fellowship Program was initiated in 2003, NPM has placed over 440 students on the governing boards of 160 outstanding nonprofit organizations in Southeast Michigan.
Through the Board Fellowship Program, graduate students from the Ross School of Business, Ford School of Public Policy and School of Social Work serve as non-voting board members of local nonprofits for an academic year. The Board Fellows work closely with the board and executive staff of their assigned organization, attend board meetings, serve on committees, and learn about the issues facing the organization. In addition, Board Fellows are expected to complete a board-level project, which may involve strategic planning, marketing, or finance. In return, students gain practical board experience, a familiarity with the nonprofit sector, and useful skills for the future.
Becoming a Nonprofit Partner
NPM partners with nonprofits to develop a mutually beneficial experience for both nonprofits and graduate students. Nonprofits gain a new perspective and input into board decisions, as well as knowledge and skills in a project to benefit the organization. Students gain a meaningful opportunity to participate in the board governance of a nonprofit and integrate tools learned in the classroom with hands on experience.
Critical elements for a board fellowship require the nonprofit leadership to:
- Provide a member of the board and staff who will serve as the Board Fellow's primary contacts and mentors
- Provide a formal orientation to the organization's work and expectations for board members
- Keep the Board Fellow informed about organizational developments
- Communicate consistently and provide feedback about the progress of the Board Fellow's project
- Complete NPM mid-year and final evaluations
- Conduct a final wrap-up meeting with the Board Fellow
There are many factors we examine in considering nonprofit partners for the Board Fellowship Program. Our selection criteria includes, but is not limited to:
- Quality of leadership in the organization and assurance our students will have appropriate support and mentorship from executive staff and board members
- Challenging board-level projects
- Frequency and location of board meetings
NPM matches students with organizations based on the student’s skills and interests and the nonprofit’s needs. Before placements are finalized, each nonprofit organization has the opportunity to review and approve the match.
- Nonprofit applications are due
in the summer
- Nonprofits will be notified in August whether they have been selected as a 2014-15 nonprofit partner
- NPM will recruit students in September
- Nonprofit partners will be asked to interview final candidates in early October
- NPM will announce board fellowship placements mid-October
- Students will serve on boards from mid-October to end of April
Applications are currently being accepted for 2014-15 partners. Feel free to contact NPM to discuss your organization's interest in hosting a Board Fellow. You may contact NPM at (734) 763-4214 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please review the program requirements (pdf). The application package requires:
- Board Fellowship Program application form (doc)
- List of current board of directors
- Copy of board minutes showing a resolution to participate in the Board Fellowship Program
- Any additional helpful material (e.g., annual report, newsletter, financial audit, brochure)
For a complete list of sites where Board Fellows have successfully completed fellowships, click here.