"On the importance of term limits for nonprofit board members:'It's sad to think how many boards are just a couple of funerals away from greatness.'"
-Kelly Kleiman of The Nonprofiteer, Things We Wish We'd Said (Board Development division)
I've never been on a nonprofit board, but I've been in board meetings as a staff member. "Fun," "inspiring" and "efficient" aren't words I would use to describe them. I guess I'm not the only one. In a 2007 survey of over 5,000 Board Café readers, 52% said "most boards do a so-so job."
What are new models you've seen that work to create engaged, creative, effective boards whose meetings its members look forward to?
In About.com's, Is Your Nonprofit Board Bored? Eight Ways to Keep Them Awake Joanne Fritz lists eight tips from The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management including:
• Set up periodic retreats away from the usual meeting site. When working with the Girl Scouts in St. Louis, we took the board members to one of our camps for an overnight. This allowed board members to bond and loosen up which favored good discussions.Gayle Roberts of the Fundraising for Nonprofits blog compiled 30 Tips for Effective Nonprofit Board Leadership based on advice she received from her LinkedIn Network. A few tips that I particularly liked were:
• Find 15 minutes on the agenda of each board meeting to either reflect upon a big picture trend or to learn about an issue that affects the work of the nonprofit.Nicole Notario-Risk, the author of Board Service Provides Growth Opportunities for Emerging Leaders, on the Johnson Center's NP2020 blog, enjoys being on a board and has used it as a professional development opportunity. The 27-year-old board president gives four reasons why you should join a nonprofit board:
• Develop individual board member agreements that specify what each member will contribute and what they can expect in terms of support and opportunities.
• When chairing a meeting, find ways to draw in people who don’t always get a chance to speak or who are newer to the board.
• Weed out the people who have nothing better to do than to contribute through negativity or simply want something to put on their resume.
• The opportunity to challenge yourself and develop specific skills.I'd love to hear your stories about how you keep your nonprofit board from being boring, and example of new models for board development and management.
• The ability to serve a mission closest to your heart.
• The chance to learn from a skilled Executive Director and/or staff.
• The opportunity to be a part of a great team and build relationships.
Photo by me.