How to Write a Board Resignation Letter (Step-by-Step)

  • By: Josh Palmer
  • May 28, 2024
Board resignation letter
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Serving on a board of directors is a major commitment that shapes the direction and health of an organization. A time may come when a board member needs to step down. A well-crafted resignation letter ensures a compliant transition and maintains professionalism.

An emergency board meeting isn’t typically required for resignation. However, one may be scheduled in advance, especially when removing a board member, to guarantee organizational bylaws are lawfully observed. Here’s how to write a concise resignation letter.

What is a Board Resignation Letter?

A board resignation letter is a formal communication that informs the organization’s leadership of an individual’s decision to resign from their position as a board member. In the context of a board, such as a corporate board of directors or a nonprofit board, a resignation letter is important for maintaining transparency within the organization, ensuring smooth transitions in leadership, and documenting changes in board composition. 

The notification, usually submitted via email or printed letter, allows for a planned handoff of responsibilities and ensures transparency within the company regarding changes in leadership. It must be submitted with ample notice to expedite succession planning and transition arrangements.

Components of a Resignation Letter

It is part of professional etiquette to write a formal resignation letter when vacating a board position. This letter should include the following”

  • Name and position: State your full name and the exact board seat you’re vacating.
  • Date: Include the date you’re writing the letter.
  • Intended last day of service: Announce your resignation and provide the exact date of your last board meeting as your final day of service. Ideally, aim for a date at least two weeks after submitting the letter, although some positions might require a longer notice period. Research your organization’s specific requirements to ensure proper notice.
  • Reason for resignation: While not required, including a brief explanation for your departure shows professionalism. Express appreciation for the opportunity and highlight the valuable experiences you gained during your tenure.
  • Assurance of transition: You may offer assistance in training a replacement or outlining your ongoing commitment to complete unfinished projects before your departure. If the list of tasks is extensive, attach a separate document detailing your responsibilities and completion timeline.
  • Signature: Conclude your letter with a formal closing followed by your handwritten signature. Proofread the letter  for clarity, relevance, and professionalism before submitting it.

How to Write a Resignation Letter

Follow these steps to structure your board resignation letter:

1. Address the Board

Direct your letter to the board of directors or the appropriate governing body. Address them directly by either saying “Dear Board Members” or “To the Board of Directors.” This demonstrates respect for their position and acknowledges their involvement in the organization’s governance.

2. Express Gratitude

Begin by conveying sincere appreciation for the opportunity to serve on the board. Articulate thankfulness in your resignation letter out of respect for the positive experiences or relationships developed during your tenure. Mention specific instances where the board’s guidance or support contributed to your professional growth or the success of projects you worked on together.

3. Announce the Resignation 

State your decision to resign, focusing on the facts of your departure rather than dwelling on any negative experiences. Maintain professionalism even if leaving under challenging circumstances. Doing so upholds your personal integrity and preserves professional relationships, which may prove beneficial in the future. 

4. Offer Assistance

Show your commitment to an orderly departure by offering to help train a replacement or complete unfinished projects. While not mandatory, it builds goodwill with remaining board members and facilitates future collaborations.

5. Close

Optionally, include your contact information for future reference and continued interest in the organization’s success. A professional closing (“Sincerely” or “Yours truly”) followed by your typed name and signature finalizes the letter.

Pro tip: Proper formatting is crucial. Before submitting your letter, reference your board bylaws to confirm the required notice period. Some organizations have specific deadlines for resignation notices, such as two or four weeks. Knowing this requirement helps determine your accurate last day of service.

Getting Started with OnBoard

Ensuring a smooth transition after tendering a board resignation letter is central to ongoing organizational success. Adhere to the outlined best practices above to depart on the best terms.

With a platform like OnBoard, boards can better plan for resignations or retirements with the Roles and Term Limits feature, which centralize your board’s experience, roles, and terms into a single, easily accessible resource. It  provides notifications when terms are expiring so nominating committees can proactively plan future board composition.

Other features and capabilities boards may find most valuable include:

  • Cloud-based platform to promote collaboration and provide resource access at all times.
  • Real-time collaboration tools with features like document editing, annotation tools, and discussion forums for a more engaged board environment.
  • Streamlined meeting management, from creating agendas and distributing materials to capturing minutes and tracking action items. 
  • Secure online portal that grants easy access to meeting materials, past minutes, committee reports, and other relevant documents.

Get started with OnBoard’s free Meeting Minutes Template, which outlines how the best boards report meeting minutes. 

Free Tool

Efficiently track and document board decisions with our Meeting Minutes Template

About The Author

Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.