You want your nonprofit’s board members to be your biggest advocates, but sometimes you are so busy you forget to properly cultivate them into engaged champions of your organization.. How do you ensure that your board is in it to win it? Well, it’s going to involve some work on your part, but the payoff is long term success.So what do you say? Let’s build some engagement!
Build the board you want
Being selective about your board members is the first step towards success. Take stock of your current board members and the strengths and weaknesses present to find someone who is different. Having a robust board that includes members from different facets of the private and public sector, of diverse backgrounds, colors, sexual orientation and gender will go a long way in creating an environment that encourages dialogue and productivity.
Onboard your board members
“What? I don’t even have time or resources to properly onboard my staff!” We understand the resistance but investing your time in your board members at the onset will get them started on the right foot and demonstrate that you value their role. Explain in depth your organization’s mission, values, goals and vision. Your board member is there to help you advocate and they can’t do that effectively if they don’t know what you’re all about, so make it happen!
One of the best ways to ensure that your board members are engaged is by creating different committees. One committee could be in charge of the gala, another in program functions and another in technological advancement. By giving each board member a specific committee with its own set of responsibilities, your board members will be able to apply their strengths and be more invested in helping you further your mission.
Set up your board meetings to be the most productive events possible. Always start with a rundown of the last meetings minutes so that everyone is up to speed. Also be sure to include a time for each committee to present what they have accomplished since the last meeting. Show the progress that the board is making for the organization and make sure to thank everyone at the end.
We recommend including an annual self-assessment for each board member. This self-assessment allows the board member to reflect on what they have done for the organization and what they can do in the future.
In addition, include quarterly and more general reflection that board members can complete about their experience on the board of your organization. You can learn from them and continue to cultivate a more robust board experience.
Anytime you have an opportunity to get feedback from board members, take it. Conducting exit interviews is a great way to get advice on how to better your board experience. Ask the right questions and make it clear that you are willing to take criticism.
Board Members are Major Donors
One of the most important things to remember about your board members is that they are some of your major donors and should be cultivated in the same way. Many of the strategies that you use for your major donors can also be utilized for board members. Developing relationships with them as you would any major donor is essential to keep them engaged and frankly keep those donations coming.
Ask their advice
Your board members are important so make them feel that way! There’s no better way to make someone feel useful than to ask for their advice.
Thank them all the time
Not to sound like a broken record, but thank your board members all the time. Be gracious when they donate, show up to events and for no reason whatsoever. To keep them engaged, you want them to feel important so thank them once, twice and three times!
Your board members are essential for your nonprofit’s success. If you are looking for a software to help engage your board and keep them on top of their assigned tasks, Cureo is a wonderful option. Learn more about it here.