by Mandy Pearce
“I can’t get my board members to perform!”
That is one of the most common complaints we at Funding for Good hear from clients. When we ask them to describe the positive qualities their board members possess we get a variety or responses including: “They love our mission, they come to meetings most of the time, and they say they want to help.”
So what’s the problem?
Well…”Only a few are really active. They say they want to help, but when it comes time to perform, they just don’t deliver!”
Perhaps instead of blaming our board of directors for their lack of skill or involvement we should step back and evaluate the policies and procedures that were responsible for creating your team.
Consider the following:
If you decided to organize a community basketball league, what kind of participants would you most like to attract to your team? People who may love the sport, want an occasional workout, interested in the social connections, and if you are lucky, can hit some shots under pressure.
This is ridiculous, right?
WHY then, would you expect board members who were not strategically recruited and selected to perform at an “All-Star” level if the bar was set at the lowest level?
Why would you assume they have the passion, discipline, skills set, AND availability to lead your organization if they didn’t sign up for that level of commitment?
The level of board performance you get is directly related to the recruitment, training, and playing opportunities they get!
It is simply unfair to recruit new board members using phrases like “all you have to do is show up to board meetings and help with an annual event” or “It’s not hard…staff does most of the work and the board just listens to reports at board meetings.”
Passion and availability are great, but nonprofits need to evaluate what skill sets their organization needs at a leadership level and recruit board members who can deliver.
Is it possible to take a community sports team and turn them into NBA stars?
With proper training and passion, they might win some local or state championships, but they most likely won’t all become superstars. Some might drop out as soon as the requirements for participation change, and it is not as fun.
The same rings true for the board of directors.
When you establish a game plan, you might be surprised at the skill individual members bring to your organization. Develop those and begin to strategically fill vacated slots so your team continues to get stronger with each passing year.
Need a checklist outlining the basic steps to board development or other key resources to help you build your All-Stars board?
Check out the board building resources under the Free Stuff tab on our website.
Also, check out this free webinar that Sandy Rees and I did on Getting to 100% Board Giving: Strategies That Work.