Don't Bid Your Best Friends Farewell
Former board members and, in particular, former board chairs, can be a core source of resources, insight and funds for a nonprofit.
These leaders often have a longstanding involvement and a deep understanding of your organization and how it functions. While new blood is important, we can all benefit and be re-energized from a respite — even from the organizations and activities that we love.
When leaders leave your board, be sure to reach out and keep them connected. Some opportunities include:
- Invite them to serve on an advisory board for your organization or for a specific program.
- Include them on a board committee.
- Ask them to volunteer in your annual fund.
- Where appropriate, add them to a list of potential board members so they can rejoin your board when your bylaws or their circumstances allow.
- Hold an annual former board member briefing.
- Invite former board members back to a special board meeting each year.
- Ask them to be special guests at your annual meeting.
- Share a listing of former board chairs in your annual report and on your website.
- Ask them to write articles on your organization or collaborate on an organizational history.
- Reach out to get spouses or the the next generation of families members involved.
- Continue to secure their annual gifts.
- Invite them to serve on a major campaign committee.
- Include them in a strategic planning process.
- Honor distinguished board service with a board member emeritus title.
- Call them for advice and don't let them go too far!
USPOULTRY holds an annual board meeting where former board chairs are invited (as well as family of current board members). This is a weekend event that enables the former board to stay involved on both a professional and personal level. As a result, they have deep connectivity.
Don't lose the passion, knowledge, skills and resources of your former board members and especially former chairs. Work to keep them connected when their terms end — stay in touch and ask them how they would love to stay involved!
"The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind." — Khalil Gibran
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.