3 Keys to Nonprofit Board Success
Recently, over lunch with a good friend, we discussed nonprofit boards. It was a familiar conversation. He has served on and chaired many. As he shared his insight and experiences — good and bad — it reinforced three key board principles that I firmly embrace.
- Board giving is not an option. The board must be 100 percent in its annual giving — and in any additional campaign that the board approves. Don't shortchange your mission. You can find passionate board members who also have the capacity and interest to consider your nonprofit worthy of a major gift. People behave differently where they have a financial investment.
- Education is key. The board has to understand its strategic role. This begins with an orientation and is continually reinforced through education and coaching. On a regular basis, reinforce information about your organization including your mission, programs, strategic plan and outcomes.
- The board must be a top focus of the CEO and other senior staff — especially the chief development officer. Regular, personal communication and interaction (visits) are essential to keep the lines of communication open and to be attuned to any questions or concerns. Build trust and consensus, and gain insight outside of board and committee meetings.
You usually get the board you deserve. Be sure that your board is invested, educated and nurtured. Make the board a priority, and it will do the same with your organization.
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.