Helping cultural organisations to build better boards.

BIA:NW created and piloted the Board Bank programme in 1994, since when it has been one of its core services.

The Better Board Bank is a confidential register of people with a wide variety of backgrounds who are offering to share their skills and experience with the arts and museums by serving on boards of management. It is often described as a sort of dating agency for prospective board members.

Who is it for?

Arts organisations and museums who want to make their boards as effective as they can be and recruit specialist skills.

People with business expertise who want to gain the experience of working at board level and to put something back into the community.

How does it work?

Arts organisations and museums seeking new board members should discuss their needs with BIA:NW and then submit an application form with supporting information.

After acceptance and registration onto the scheme, the volunteer is asked to attend the Introduction to Board Membership, a late afternoon session which introduces the candidates to the sector, the sort of responsibilities that they will be accepting and good practice in governance.

BIA:NW matches candidates and applications on the basis of skills, arts interests, geography and other factors. Once the candidate has reviewed the opportunity and made the decision to go forward, BIA:NW writes to the arts organisation asking them to contact the candidate. The two parties meet without obligation, to decide if the match is a good one.

In recent years we have worked to develop the diversity of the Board Bank through the Positive Action Board Bank, targeting black and racial minority candidates for boards, and Board Bank Extra, targeting deaf and disabled candidates. Now the whole programme has been relaunched as The Better Board Bank - a programme with diversity at its heart. BIA:NW has received funding from Grants for the Arts, The Foyle Foundation and the Co-operative Community Fund to develop the programme.

Since 1985 BIA:NW has matched nearly 500 people on to boards in the cultural sector.