7 Steps to the Fully Engaged Nonprofit Board You Deserve
A board invitation is too important to present casually and should include a team approach — your CEO and the appropriate board leader — ideally the one with the best relationship in cultivating this candidate.
Don’t be timid about expectations, including their giving at a leadership level.
Take a step back annually and evaluate what your board members need to know. We recommend:
- Meeting schedule
- Job description
- Committee structure
- Mission/vision and programs
- Board procedures
- Strategic plan
- Board bios
- Other volunteer groups/roles
- Ongoing education
You want to match skills and interests of board members with your organization’s needs. Get them involved immediately with a committee, ensure they attend meetings and call on them between meetings to seek their special counsel.
Keep your board members motivated. It’s really all about relationship building. You must provide them with meaningful roles and a real connection with the CEO, the chair and their fellow board members.
This happens through regular communication to the board — and personal touches, including visits and phone calls.
Give the board members tasks that they can accomplish and win. And provide them with the coaching they need.
Continually show your board appreciation through every means possible, including:
- Birthday cards
- Organization-related gifts/perks
- Thank-you notes
- Volunteer appreciation week
- Holiday cards
- Phone calls
And never forget to recognize your board at board meetings and through all communications — Web, newsletters and media.
If you allow your board to learn and grow, be successful, have fun, connect with other leaders — they will be stars.
Ongoing board evaluation is essential and can be formal or informal. The stronger relationships you have, the easier it is to ask a board member to help.
By staying close to your board members, you know of life or work circumstances where they need extra grace.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.