The opportunity of every association, chamber, or nonprofit executive is to recruit, retain, and reward a board of directors. Perhaps a fresh look at this traditional topic will be of benefit to you. With 35 years in the nonprofit arena, I have yet to find two identical boards.
Recruitment of potential board members is a daily opportunity. Each day you meet and interact with potential board members. Observation of leadership is in your DNA; that’s why you are the executive. You understand the leadership qualities needed to successfully serve on the board.
Organization executives are the “lighthouses” that guide the organization in its path to success. Some potential board members are drawn to the bright light, while others are in the shaded areas where you will need to shine the light.
Recruitment is a powerful tool in the construction of a board. A few names of qualified, interested leaders are always an asset to any executive. Consider these ingredients when you are in the recruitment mode:
- Passion for the organization
- Decision-making skills
- Willingness to commit to the time to serve
- Experience and professionalism
I am certain you can add several more ingredients to this list.
Retaining a board member also needs consistent attention. As a chamber executive, I had 27 board members. I reminded them that they each had 1/27th of the risk and 1/27th of the reward of the organization. During board meetings when a valid agenda item needed to be discussed, I encouraged the board chair to start on his/her right and ask each and every board member their opinion, advice, and gut feeling on that agenda item. This was a great retention tool for board members. Each board member had his/her fingerprint on the issue and felt valued.
Finally, rewarding board members takes the same priority as recruitment and retention.
Take a serious look at how you reward the board as a whole and individually. What can you do to thank them for their contribution to the organization’s success? Give this some thought and consider a few events, places, and activities that you can use to thank every board member for their contribution to your organization.
In summary, take a fresh look at your board of directors, engage each of them, and learn from them. Your mission is too large and impactful to have a “Bored of Directors.”