Board engagement or lack thereof, is a constant frustration for nonprofit leaders. Having a strong, committed board of directors is often crucial to the ongoing success of a nonprofit. As a team, they bring many skills and experience to support the organization’s leadership in carrying out their mission. So what’s the problem?
While there are too many reasons to cover here, the primary ones are often lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities, and an unclear strategic direction for the organization. Those are fairly obvious and can be addressed relatively easily by defining those elements, having an effective on-boarding and orientation process, and developing or enhancing a strategic plan.
What is often overlooked is a simple yet powerful way to motivate and inspire board members and that is celebrating the positives rather than always focusing on the challenges.
Intentionally show them the difference they are making, both as a team and individually. Share the impact of how their decisions and actions are directly helping the organization achieve its mission and move towards its vision. Let them know the organization can’t be successful if the board’s not successful. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they think is necessary for achieving greater impact and then work with them to make those changes where appropriate. Most importantly, let them feel proud of what they have accomplished and what the organization stands for.
Take the time RIGHT NOW to say THANK YOU to a deserving board member and tell them why. This simple act will energize them and strengthen their commitment to your cause. It doesn’t solve all your frustrations, but it’s a good place to start.
If you are interested in learning more, JBL Strategies offers board leadership and development training customized to the needs of your organization.