One mark of a successful non-profit is an engaged and involved board. When board members welcome their responsibilities, contribute generously, and share the mission, much is accomplished by the board and it takes hold across the organization.
This begs the question, how do you most effectively engage your board? What follows are some tried and true strategies that strengthen your board. Implement these tips and you will see the excitement spread beyond the membership of your board.
- Meet with them to ask specific and challenging questions: Motivating your board requires setting aside annual one-on-one time with each board member to hear from them and also to challenge them.
- “What really motivates you about our mission?” Their answer will help you to see their passion and driving forces behind their participation within your organization.
- “What are your talents and assets that you are most excited about to share with the board?” Each of us wants to utilize our strengths in the best way possible. Help your board to do the same.
- “What do you hope to accomplish in your role as a board member this year?” Asking this question challenges each board member to be intentional about their role and to think about how to better contribute to the team.
- Provide a clear understanding of expected involvement: A clear checklist of fundraising activities and the supporting tasks to make those happen. Structure gives your board actionable items they can get behind and clearly work on. The following list are just a start of some foundational activities for your board. If they know this at the time of recruitment, you increase their engagement from the start.
- Attend all board meetings
- Making fundraising a personal priority
- Chair a committee or sit on one
- Community PR for the organization
- Attend all the non-profit’s events
- Hold an annual board retreat: A well-planned full-day event will include a good mix of strategic prioritizing, clarifying fundraising goals, and events for the coming year. Make sure to include fun, yet team building activities that lets your hair down and keeps comradery high.
- Develop your board: Providing effective training to develop your board’s skill and resources is an on-going process. This will build a strong board as they gain confidence and hone their skills.
- Give them the tools they need to get the job done: Beyond the needed brochures, DVD presentations, fundraising materials, make sure they have these and other technology & software to be the most effective. When board members feel equipped, their job is more enjoyable.
- Keep them comfortable: Not all board members have the same talents and strengths in all areas. Break down tasks in such a way that each member can focus on areas in which they feel the most comfortable and that plays to their strengths. Don’t lose certain members just because they are not comfortable with direct fundraising. They can help in many ways that include research, planning, relationship building, organizing, recruiting – involved in the development process.
- Show your gratitude: Separate of the annual retreat, hold a significant event or dinner that really communicates your appreciation and recognizes each board member for their specific strengths and contributions to the organization. Do not forget to also set yourself moments throughout the year where you are finding ways to convey your thanks. Try to target a certain number of your board members once each quarter to get one-on-one time to thank them and specifically mention their time and contributions.
Implement these strategies and you will have the strongest, most engaged board, yet. 2017 will see the greatest success of your organization, yet.
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