The Role of the Board in Nonprofit Success
- Discuss expectations often in board meetings. Read each expectation, and explain it by saying "this means that …"
- See if you can generate substantive discussion around each expectation to make it real.
3. Interesting meetings. High-performing boards make sure their board meetings are interesting. They don't waste time on trivial issues.
- Try to create a meeting experience that leaves everyone feeling energetic and excited about the organization.
- Don't focus solely on business issues—you simply must reconnect your board members with your cause and the urgent work at hand at each meeting.
4. Consent agendas. Great boards package non-controversial, routine agenda items into a block (the consent agenda) that are voted on all at one time. This saves time and moves the meeting into more urgent issues quickly.
- Then you can spend time on the important issues rather than minutiae.
- You have board meetings that are generally more interesting, compelling and therefore more enjoyable.
5. Recruiting new members. Great boards are thoughtful about their new members—and select them carefully. They don't add people just because slots are open.
- Determine the various skill sets and qualities you want in new board members, which actually may vary over time.
- Then take your time with a careful recruitment process—which should take several months.
6. Orientation. They orient their new members carefully—to help them get up to speed on strategic issues and also to help them feel like valued members of the group. Orientation should include social time with current board members.
- Orientation might take place on a Saturday morning in a current board member's home to create a relaxed environment.
- It might include many current board members so they can answer new members' questions and start getting to know them.
7. Term limits. Great boards enforce term limits, with no discussions and no questions. Rotating new board members keeps the board fresh and open to new ideas. Everybody knows and accepts this.