10 New Year's Resolutions for Nonprofit Board Members
Are you ready for 2015? And … is your board ready?
This is the time when we all step back and make our resolutions. Here are some great New Year’s Resolutions for your board members!
1. I will have a bias toward action
Knowing that my organization needs more than talk out of board members, I will focus on positive actions that I can take. I refuse to be one of those board members who thinks his or her job is simply to come to meetings and just offer an opinion.
I will ask the staff members what they need our board members to actually do this month, this quarter, this year. I will put my money where my mouth is and support my nonprofit.
Taking action will be more fun and create much better results!
2. I resolve to understand the numbers
I promise to spend some time understanding our finances. I want to learn more about where the money really goes.
I’m interested in learning about my organization’s fundraising plan and our funding model. I want to know more about my role as a fiduciary guardian of our nonprofit.
3. I will encourage everyone to think big
I know that we are not going to change the world, save the environment, feed the hungry, change our community, by thinking small. So I will think big.
I understand that there is great power in a big, wildly exciting vision because a big vision will help attract people — and resources — to our cause.
Like Donald Trump said: “If you are going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big!”
4. I will support our fundraising program
Knowing that fundraising is not just about asking for money, I want to understand my various fundraising responsibilities as a board member. I’ll do what I can to help bring in resources.
I will support building an organizational culture that will support philanthropy. I’m interested in educating myself about fundraising — how it works today and what works best for us.
I won’t suggest a new fundraising idea without understanding its impact on our staffing and volunteer resources.
5. I will be optimistic, no matter what!
I will be the board member who believes in abundance and sees the glass half full. Knowing that negativity is self-defeating, I will discourage everyone from engaging in “handwringing” and naysaying. I know that it wipes out all our energy and passion.
I resolve to be the board member who has the point of view of abundance rather than scarcity. And I hope to influence the rest.
I will encourage a positive, can-do attitude — because that is what can change the world.
6. I will go back to my vision again and again
I know that my vision will keep me excited, focused, passionate and results-oriented. So I will stay focused on what’s possible.
If any of our board members feel jaded or bored, I’ll encourage them to remember why they really care about this cause and our organization.
I’ll do my best to keep the fires of passion and energy burning brightly.
7. I will dare to challenge the status quo
Knowing that change is hard for all organizations, including ours, I will be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. I will encourage my fellow board members to be willing to let go — no matter how threatening change is.
I will remember Jack Welch’s quote: “If the change is happening outside the organization faster than it is on the inside, the end is near.”
I resolve to be willing to ask, “Why are we doing this?”
8. I will make my own proud, personal gift to support my organization
And I will encourage the other board members to give. I understand that If we don’t put our money where our mouth is, we have absolutely no credibility. I resolve to set an example.
9. I will support the staff
Understanding that an acknowledged staff is a more productive staff, I will ask the staff members how I can best support them.
Understanding that they carry enormous responsibility on their shoulders, I will support paying them competitive salaries. I will not ask the staffers to overwork themselves or sacrifice their personal lives in the name of our cause.
I resolve to return their phone calls. And respond to their emails. And help out.
10. I will be a 'sneezer' and advocate for our cause wherever I go
Knowing that ideas can be contagious and spread among people like viruses, I will practice my elevator speech when I meet a potential supporter. Above all, I want to create an epidemic of buzz about my organization all around.
I resolve to be a terrific personal advocate for our organization and our cause. And I”ll have fun doing it!
I don’t want to mess around as a board member.
I certainly don’t want to waste my time in meaningless meetings and committees.
I want to make my service on the board meaningful.
And make a real difference in the world!