Boards in Gear, which intentionally abbreviates to BIG, recognizes the large role boards play in a nonprofit’s success. As a board, you want your nonprofit to thrive and make a difference in the communities served by your organization. Designed to provide actionable information and tools to elevate your board practices, this is a starting point and an invitation to be curious, ask questions, and share your learning with others at your organization. Whether your nonprofit is just starting or is long established, getting your board in gear can help put your organization on a clear path forward.

Upcoming Boards in Gear Events

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Boards in Gear Guide

Start by downloading the Boards in Gear Guide that includes activities, worksheets, and reflection questions. As you work through the guide, watch the video for each chapter. Find templates and other documents to help put what you learned into practice in the document vault. Keep on learning with other resources and upcoming workshops on nonprofit governance, operations, and more.

Download the Guide

What We Cover in Boards in Gear


Start by understanding how getting your board in gear can help put your organization on a clear path forward. You will get an overview of the content covered in the subsequent chapters.

Connection to Cause

A nonprofit’s work exists within a larger cause and context of policies and regulations, circumstances, individuals, organizations, and agencies that affect the work. Connecting your nonprofit’s mission to the larger cause strengthens the organization’s ability to achieve its mission.


Board members should understand the components of individual responsibilities, legal and fiduciary responsibilities, financial responsibilities, and risk management. When board members’ responsibilities are met, the board provides needed oversight to steward the organization’s mission and valuable assets.

Board Composition and Development

Strong board composition makes certain the ideal people are in place with the skills and experiences needed to respond to new opportunities and challenges. Intentional board development can create space for community members served by the organization to bring their unique insights and experiences to the board.

Board Operations

Efficient and effective board operations are a key part of advancing an organization’s work. Boards should have operational practices in place that align with their stage of development, board culture, and organizational values.


Board members help nonprofits secure adequate resources for the organization in ways that allow for financial stability over time. The board needs to conduct fundraising activities in a manner that upholds the public’s trust in the organization’s stewardship of contributed funds.

Document Vault

Check out these documents and templates to deepen your learning and help put what you learned into practice. Looking for something specific? Use the subtopic filters to filter by chapter, or search keywords you are looking for. 

2022 Nonprofit Association of Washington Annual Report

2022 Washington Nonprofit Handbook

Assess Your Board Culture Worksheet

Board Calendar Worksheet

Board Calendar Worksheet

Board Learning Plan Template

Board Learning Plan Template

Board Matrix Template

Board Matrix Template for Board Recruitment

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Strategic Planning in Nonprofits

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Starting a Nonprofit

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Boards in Gear On-Demand Webinar

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Upcoming Events

Important Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or technical advice. If you are unsure about anything covered in Boards in Gear, we suggest that you contact the appropriate agency or seek professional advice.

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