39 WAYS NONPROFITS CAN BUILD STRONG BOARDS OF DIRECTORS
A Checklist for Nonprofit CEO's and Board Chairmen
- Boards of directors (or trustees) are required by law
- Boards can be among the major assets of a nonprofit
- And don't overlook the value of advisory boards, too
- Understand the different motivations to be a director
- The chair and CEO share boardsmanship responsibilities
- If the board feels successful ... the CEO wins, too!
Volunteer board members like to be recognized for their charitable work ... but not only with kind words, plaques and certificates. The list below represents the major ways board members want to be "recognized." How are you doing?
RECOGNITION OF BEING THOUGHTFULLY INVITED TO SERVE
Note: Individuals should already have demonstrated interest through their time and money before becoming a candidate. A candidate's name should come from an analysis of what type of director is needed.
- Personal visits from CEO and/or board chairman
- Shown board manual: history, mission, board role, etc.
- Specific responsibilities/expectations are laid out
- Offered invitation to attend board meeting as a visitor
- Given sufficient time to respond to an invitation
- Encouraging calls/lettesr from other board members
RECOGNITION OF BEING HELPED AS A NEW BOARD MEMBER
- Good orientation to internal structure, finances, etc.
- Individual time, early on, with key officers and staff
- Given set of minutes for last four meetings
- Time to get acquainted at first board meeting
RECOGNITION OF BEING RESPECTED AS AN ACTIVE GROUP MEMBER
- Information updates from CEO between meetings
- Advance agendas, written recommendations, etc.
- Financial/other tracking data designed for a director
- Assignments that fit what one does well and enjoys most
- Never surprised by major problems; always a warning
- Time for personally rewarding fellowship
- Protection from liability as a board member
- Time for board to plan/initiate; not just respond
RECOGNITION AS A SPECIAL INDIVIDUAL
- Provided stationery, directors' business cards, etc.
- Thanks: notes from CEO, flowers to spouse, etc.
- Time: lunches with CEO, dinner as couples, etc.
- Remembrance: cards on birthday, anniversary, etc.
RECOGNITION WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION
- Given appropriate assignments at special events
- Profiles of members in newsletters, on bulletin boards
- Verbal commendations when deserved
- Awards for outstanding service
- Not asked to do what advisory board members might do
- Election as officer through serious nomination process
- Fair chance to say yes OR no to re-election
RECOGNITION WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION'S PROFESSIONAL SECTOR
- News/pictures in national association publications
- Travel budget to attend regional/national meetings
RECOGNITION IN THE GENERAL COMMUNITY
- Local paper news articles on board activities
- Ask to represent organization at major local events
- Paid newspaper/radio ad to thank/acknowledge board
- Allow board to select one scholarship recipient each
RECOGNITION AT THE END OF THE TERM OF OFFICE
- Special gift/award upon retirement form board
- Invitation to stay actively involved (advisory board?)
- Continue quarterly written updates to former members
- Former member still called by CEO for advice
Can you think of other important ways to "recognize" board members? Relax ... NO ONE does all of these things. But no one who does any of them regrets the time and effort it takes to model good boardsmanship. This is the way to move organizations beyond survival ... to significance.
Which numbered items above are you willing to try? _____ _____ _____ _____
Robert C. Andringa, Ph.D., President
Creative Solutions Group
6119 East Briarwood Circle
Englewood, Colorado 80112