Flip the Agenda at Your Next Volunteer Board Meeting
At this meeting, which consisted of staff and volunteers, I placed open discussion by volunteers on key germane topics at the front end of the meeting. I provided staff materials for reading by the committee in place of oral reports. If time allowed, I provided staff oral presentations that were in sync with the subject matter discussed. In this flipped agenda scenario with greater focus on volunteer involvement and ownership, the volunteers came alive. There was immediate personal opinion sharing, personal experiences given, laughter and a renewed sense of commitment.
Each volunteer participated in the discussions at hand. The meeting was so good it actually lasted longer than scheduled, but no one minded. I attempted to enhance the process by explaining a problem we were having and how I needed the attendees' advice and counsel. I also relayed a new idea and wanted their feedback. I loved it because I felt two-way communication that I had not felt before in that setting. There was plenty of feedback - and plenty of smiles! A member of the committee attending his first meeting commented on how positive his experience was in watching this meeting unfold.
The moral of this story is simple. Flip the agenda, and let your volunteers run the meeting with your help. As this was a development/marketing committee meeting example, several unsolicited members said they would personally identify two to three new prospects to review at the next meeting. My volunteer chair and I plan to meet in advance of the next meeting to seek ways to continue this momentum shift.
Never stay satisfied with any meeting, agenda or process. It is everyone's responsibility to drive time, talent and treasure to your organization. Don't be afraid to let others drive your car.
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.