Keeping your board members motivated to participate may seem like an impossible task. This is especially true when you have to compete with their jobs, families and other aspects of their lives outside of the organization. Fortunately, there are some options available to ramp up the motivation and keep your board members effective.
First, keep in mind that the members joined the organization for a reason. Some may have true passion for the mission of the organization, others may have joined because of personal experiences or perhaps another member asked them to join. Whatever the reason, remember that each member has a set of unique skills and talents. Take the time to get to know each board member and try to find duties that not only match their skillsets, but also meet their interests and scheduling needs. Read below for some tips to help keep your board members motivated.
As mentioned above, you should spend time getting to know your board members as individuals. When you have a new board member join, cultivating the new member relationship is vital. Set up meetings during the first several months so that the new member truly feels like part of the team and that his or her contribution matters. Use this time to not only get to know the person, but to make sure this individual’s skills are being put to good use.
Keep the Mission in Focus
Board members want to know that they are making a difference. Furthermore, they want to see how the organization as a whole makes a difference. As much as possible, keep your board members involved with all programs and events.
Take a Break
If you are not doing so already, schedule a once-per-year retreat. By removing the board members from the daily, weekly or monthly routine of running the organization, you will not only promote bonding among the members, but you might also open the door to new ideas for the future. If it seems your organization is in a rut, a retreat might be just what the doctor ordered to reinvigorate and motivate your board members.
Set the Bar High
By keeping expectations low, the chances are good that when the moment comes when the organization really needs to shoot for the stars, your board members will only deliver the bare minimum. Set the bar high and let every board member know from day one that the organization needs each and every one of them at 100 percent all the time.
The monthly board meeting is the time to really show off. Think of it like a mini retreat, but set in a conference room. Open up the meeting with a meal or snacks along with an activity that gets everyone engaged. Also, be sure that every meeting starts and ends on time and sticks to the agenda. The last thing any board members want is sit around for an hour and a half and feel like it was a complete waste of time. Make sure every point you discuss comes back to the organization’s mission and its impact. Consider inviting program participants or others that benefit from the organization’s work and let them give first-hand accounts of their experiences.
Your board members are the key to raising money for the organization. The board should meet and decide how much each individual member must either donate or raise each year on behalf of the organization. When each member has an annual goal to meet, sit down and help them devise a strategy.
Training Is Key
While some board members may have years of experience when it comes to fundraising, there will be many that have little to no experience. Hold training sessions on how to request and obtain donations. Consider pairing up inexperienced members with seasoned fundraisers to help them learn strategies.
Make It Fun
Many people are more apt to rise to the occasion when competition is involved. Dangle some incentives for your board members. For example, you can hold a contest for the largest fundraiser by month and give the winner a prepaid gift card to a store or restaurant.
A strong board is the key to a strong nonprofit. Take steps today to make sure your board stays positive, motivated, and engaged.