Your board is essential for driving your mission and strategic priorities. Over the last couple of years, the pandemic has kept many boards from meetings in person. The lack of face-to-face interaction may have your board members feeling less connected and effective. Now that we are able to gather again, what are you doing to make sure your board is diverse, engaged and well-trained?
Each year, a great practice is to conduct an assessment with your board, review where your board stands today, and to determine where there are gaps. Does your board reflect the community your non-profit is serving? Do your board members have the expertise and talents needed to get your organization back on track and marching strongly into the future and beyond? Creating a checklist of skills and talents required will help identify collectively where your focus should be on recruiting new members.
In addition, an annual assessment of each individual board member and the entire group will help your organization identify and stay on top of underlying issues that may be rapidly weakening the effectiveness of your board.
A Diverse Board
According to the National Council of Nonprofits, building a diverse board is top of mind for most nonprofits. Unfortunately, not much progress has been made. Following is a link to the National Council of Nonprofits’ helpful resources to increase your board’s diversity and engagement. (We found the self-assessment on diversity, inclusion and equity particularly valuable) https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/thought-leadership/10-steps-more-diverse-board.
Effective Board Practices
Also, at the beginning of each year or following the voting in of your newly elected members, plan a board training session and orientation for a collective review of:
- Strategic plan(s)
- Budgets and development plans
- Financial forecast
- Association and foundation key programs
- Volunteer structure, roles and responsibilities statement
- Organizational policies
- Process for working with board members who may require training or mentoring
- Conflict of interest documents (current and renewed each year)
- Board role in philanthropy and fundraising
As Jonathan Schick, author of The Nonprofit Secret: The Six Principles of Successful Board/CEO Partnership reminds us, at the heart of every successful non-profit is one thing: the board/CEO relationship. Prioritize the processes that can keep you and your board connected and engaged.
If you would like to talk through any of these ideas, or if you have any questions, contact Lori Vega, Principal at CAP, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, more information and resources are also available on the CAP website: https://associationphilanthropy.com/