10 Points That Embody the Staff's Role in Nonprofit Board Development
In my opinion, staff support for board members is embodied in 10 points:
- Pay attention to details of meetings, the needs of board members and inform board members in a timely fashion.
- Provide adequate preparation for meetings in which board members play a leadership role.
- Provide complex, concise and accurate information as requested.
- Assist board members in personal solicitations when encouraged.
- Use board members' time judiciously.
- Meet agreed upon deadlines, and notify board members promptly if deadlines cannot be met.
- Provide prompt response to requests for information.
- Demonstrate candor, respect and transparency in relationships.
- Provide opportunities for board members to be exposed to institutional activities and programs.
- Seek advice, test for feedback, support fully and know how your volunteers can bring their expertise to the table.
Constantly survey each board member to see if he or she is engaged and own the process. Be proactive and prepared for individual and group board meetings. Anticipate what the board needs, and exceed expectations. Take nothing for granted, and strive to make the board experience one to remember.
Do not fear or play down your opportunity to work with these volunteers. Think constantly about how staff and board members can seek "win-win" scenarios. Understand the role of the board in your organization. When possible, provide training and keep members totally informed of the past, present activities and future opportunities. Make your volunteers feel special and that they are insiders in the organization by the fact they serve on the board.
From a staff perspective, board relationships can be totally rewarding or extremely frustrating. Make sure members have a written job description and are fully briefed as to their roles and responsibilities. Determine if staff members have the chops to work directly with board members. Make sure board members know where the organization is heading and how they can most effectively contribute time, talent and treasure to advance the cause. Encourage board members to open doors for staff to engage with others in the volunteers orbit. Understand which board members are future leaders, and get to know their philosophies and styles.
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.