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Building Better Nonprofit Boards – Part 2

Last month in our first post of Building Better Nonprofit Boards, Part 1, we talked about the importance of a strategic plan and developing the optimal Board composition.  Now on to a few more tips to ensure your Nonprofit Board is all it can be.

A great quote from Governance as Leadership by Chait, Ryan, and Taylor that frames value: 

While trustees act responsible in terms of fiduciaries, trustees also endeavor to conserve and enhance organization’s tangible assets like finance, facilities, endowment, and personnel; in a strategic mode, trustees convert these same assets along with intangibles like organizational tradition, ethos, and image---all to their advantage for the organization. Value, to be sure, can be denoted in more than currencies than financial capital.

On-Boarding and Continual Nonprofit Board Development

Now that we have a profile of potential candidates, what does our strategy for cultivating, recruiting, on-boarding, and continuing board development look like? Consider this a process of constantly reviewing your strategic plan and considering what prospective members can bring in value. Begin the process as soon as you can and build a portfolio of potential candidates, get to know them, invite them to programs and meetings. Invite them to serve on a committee to get a deeper sense of their interest, abilities, and potential fit with your culture. Bottom line, you want to know as much as you can about the candidate, and we want them to know as much as they can about your organization before joining your nonprofit board.

Nonprofit Board Assessment

You should also consider a board assessment --- individually as well as collectively. How are individuals engaged? What are areas of their participation? How are they expanding the conversation?  How are they interacting with others?  Have each board member evaluate him/herself, as well as the board as a whole, on an annual basis. Use the information to continue, change or add to your on-going nonprofit board development program. Members will have ideas and opinions, so listen. What are they asking?

Another key aspect of assessments will be to consider an annual board retreat. Review the progress of your strategic plan. Where is the organization?  What external and internal trends that may impact your plan? Be sure to include time for socializing and celebration. Yes, celebration of your progress and success.

The key to effective boards must include a foundation of engagement strategies and opportunities for building relationships among your board members and organizational leadership.  You must ensure success and achievements for those we serve.


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