Board Fellowship

Student FAQs

bf-faqWhat types of projects do Board Fellows undertake?

Projects assigned are board-level projects, not staff-level work, and are designed to be manageable in light of the student’s other academic demands. Examples of student projects include:

  • Performance measurement: developing a balanced scorecard or creating an evaluation system
  • Strategic plans: developing a strategic plan for growth, fund development or web development
  • Marketing plans: developing a strategy for public relations or branding
  • Fund development: analyzing current fundraising efforts to increase donations
  • Finance: conducting a cost/benefit analysis for a new investment

What type of training and support does the Center for Social Impact provide Board Fellows and organizations?

Students and nonprofit partners collectively participate in an orientation to start the year.  From there, students are strongly encouraged to enroll in BA 601 “Governance of Nonprofit Organizations.” In addition, students receive training on the responsibilities of board leadership, conducted by NEW.

Throughout the program, the Center for Social Impact provides further training on topics relevant to board governance and provides avenues for students to compare learning, issues, and experiences. Nonprofits and students also receive ongoing support from the Center as needed. Support may include additional resources relevant to the Board Fellow project or working with the nonprofit and student to establish clear expectations.

What is the time commitment for Board Fellows?

Board Fellows voluntarily commit a similar amount of time per month as a full board member (typically 6-10 hours a month), including attending board meetings, committee meetings, and completing their project. The Center strongly encourages the Board Fellow and the organization to discuss expectations at the beginning of their term. In choosing Fellows, first preference will be given to students enrolled in BA 601, “Governance of Nonprofit Organizations” (Fall B semester), which provides an academic foundation for the Board Fellows program. Students who are not able to enroll in BA 601 should contact the CSI staff to explain why they are not able to enroll.

What is expected from Board Fellows?

  • Attend all board meetings and serve on one board committee
  • Complete a project within the board and committee work that leverages your graduate-level skills
  • Help with and attend special events
  • Seek support and mentoring from a sponsoring board mentor and staff mentor
  • Maintain consistent communication with mentors and the organization

What are the benefits of serving as a Board Fellow?

  • Meaningful participation in the management of a nonprofit organization
  • Professional knowledge and skills in board governance
  • Skills for effective collaboration with community leaders
  • Opportunities to integrate tools learned in the classroom with the board fellowship experience
  • Receive academic credit for work as a board fellow by enrolling in BA 601 “Governance of Nonprofit Organizations”

Who should I contact with questions or concerns?

Please contact staff of the Center for Social Impact at (734) 764-0382 or email socialimpact@umich.edu.