One of the most common challenges that nonprofit organizations face is how to effectively utilize members of the Board of Directors. Approximately 87% of nonprofit board members nationwide are engaging with organizations as volunteers. That means that their primary focus lies elsewhere. While they certainly care about the mission, they are not staff members. So, how can we make the most of their time and skills? I have listed a few suggestions below.
5 Tips For a More Engaged Board of Directors
- During Board recruitment, write a job description as you would for any other hiring. Highlight needed skills at the moment. Your fundraising chair just completed his/her term? Let that be a skillset you’re seeking in a board member.
- Establishing an expectation of giving prior to accepting Board members is critical. That expectation could include a minimum amount or strictly participatory. Regardless, each Board member should donate. Asking others for support is difficult when your most important stakeholders are invested.
- Encourage Board members to make introductions to potential donors. Not everyone is comfortable making monetary asks. That is understandable. There are Executive Directors who have not been trained in the art of the ask. To expect someone who is not being compensated or trained to know how to effectively solicit major dollars is often farfetched. But a warm introduction is easy, right?
- Invite Board members lead a service-oriented event. There is nothing like working on a passion project where you are able to use your gifts to help others become better. Your Board members joined to help, so let them help. They should mean more to you than money and exposure. Tap into their talents.
- Have your Board make some thank you calls and write notes for the organization. This not only gives them a task that they can easily complete but it takes some of the weight off your development staff, whose efforts could be better spent elsewhere.
Why You Need an Engaged Board
When your Board is engaged, you don’t just have volunteers. You have a team of people who are investing their time and talents in your organization’s success. Those people take ownership and want to see your impact increase. They are the ones who will go out and brag for you. They are your storytellers. When out for drinks (or on Zoom) with their coworkers, they’re telling your story. When at the grocery store, they’re wearing the crewneck that tells potential donors about the work you do. They truly are walking, talking advertisements for your mission.
I am excited to bring this and more ideas to your next Board retreat. Click here to contact me. Let’s see how we can work together to strengthen your Board of Directors’ effectiveness.