In the never-ending quest to get board members who do more than just attend meetings, managers have tried tactics from obvious, slobbering flattery to, well, not-so-obvious, slobbering flattery.
The fact is that board engagement is important to any nonprofit’s success. During the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ international conference, Karin Cox of Hartsook Companies and Steve Newberry of Commonwealth Broadcasting looked at the ways by which a manager can find and keep the best talent for an organization’s board. They suggested the following:
- Identify. Who needs to be involved? Think of influence, skills, connection and diversity.
- Qualify. Why would this person be an effective board leader? Think of attitude, interest, ability and willingness to be a team player, accountability and capacity.
- Cultivate. Why would they want to be involved? Listen, be honest and follow a plan. Make sure they know the organization and CEO need them, will use them, will train them, will respect their time, will be accountable and will set them up for success.
- Solicit. Pick the right time to get a commitment. Ask. Wait. Follow up.
- Appreciate. Remember why people volunteer. Show the impact, make sure it feels good, give credit, celebrate, develop individual strategies, build loyalty.