The Sky’s the Limit When Your Board Has the Tools to Give You the Help You Need

Entering the new year is the perfect opportunity to press the reset button and recharge your nonprofit’s board of directors. By letting each hot-air-balloon-67816_640member of your board know exactly what action they can take to help you reach your goals in 2014, you can put your plan into motion and make this year a successful one for your nonprofit.

Your board of directors should include your most powerful advocates; give them the tools to support your organization and you’ll all be better for it. Here are five easy-to-implement tactics to move your board to action early in 2014:

  1. Give your board of directors a printed list of your organization’s goals for 2014. (You’ve set your goals, right?) While sharing goals with your board sounds obvious enough, it’s amazing how many board members are banging their heads against the wall in frustration as they try to figure out what they can do to move your nonprofit forward. 
  2. Keep board members updated as you move toward your goals and celebrate small victories. Monthly updates at a board meeting can cover this: a brief recap at the meeting itself and a visual in your board packet. Include a graphic element for those who need images to get the full meaning of progress toward goals. Continued focus on your goals will keep both board and staff energized throughout the year.
  3. Help board members spread the news about your organization’s good work. Have a mission moment at every board meeting: bring in someone who’s benefited from your organization to share how his/her life has changed thanks to your organization. This is a powerful way to engage your board – making them proud to be associated with your organization AND providing them with a great story to share with friends, family, and colleagues.
  4. Ask each board member to call four donors to say thank you. If they get voicemail, simply leave a message and this job is done. If they get to talk to the donor, make sure you’ve provided them with talking points so they can speak to how the donor’s funds will be / have been put to use (see points 1 and 3).
  5. Ask five board members to visit with three donors to say thank you and to update them about your organization’s work. (What’s that, you don’t have five board members? That’s a whole other issue.) This will help strengthen the relationships with supportive donors and board members. 

Bonus tip number 6: schedule a coffee meeting with any board member who isn’t able to make a board meeting to keep them current with board activities. If a board member doesn’t have time to chat about your organization’s goals, have that tough conversation to find out whether being on the board is a good fit for you both.

You can see that these tactics are certainly not rocket science – you’ve probably had these ideas in the past. The difference this year is that you’re going to make sure they actually happen. Put the plan in motion, follow up, and follow through. You’ll be amazed by the number 0f new stories these simple actions can generate. Enjoy the ride and share your successes below or connect with me directly!

About Deb

Deb Nelson, principal of deb nelson consulting, is a creative storyteller. She designs and implements communication plans that leverage strategic partnerships and provide innovative solutions for her clients. You can find her on twitter at @nelliedeb.

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