Date of Conferral





Human Services


Sandra Harris


Many nonprofit organizations have implemented board development practices that include an initial orientation and ongoing training to improve board performance. However, recent studies have shown that board members struggle with understanding their roles, responsibilities, and board governance. This lack of understanding limits their ability to perform their roles effectively, which may impact the members’ performance and the organizations’ performance. This generic qualitative study explored board members’ perceptions of whether the initial orientation and ongoing training they received in preparation for board service adequately prepared them for board governance. Inglis et al.’s three factor-framework of strategic activities, operations, and resource planning served as the conceptional framework for the study. Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants. Five board members serving on nonprofit human service organization boards located in Santa Rosa, California, participated in the study. Data were collected using in-depth interviews that consisted of a series of opened-ended questions. Colaizzi’s (1978) seven-step process was used to analyze the data. Inductive analysis was used to determine emergent themes. Findings revealed that participants felt they gained increased knowledge of their roles and responsibilities. Participants were more confident in their ability to perform their roles as board members after completing an initial orientation. Results contribute to social change by revealing that providing board members with orientation training can increase their confidence in performing their roles and responsibilities in board governance.