8 Strategies for Successfully Empowering Board Members

Ensure a Successful Start

First of the series:
8 Strategies for Empowering your Nonprofit Board

Board members agree to join an organization because they want to be a part of delivering on its mission and purpose. When service expectations are clearly described to the board candidate, he or she will be empowered to provide greater scope of impact and influence on the institution’s mission and vision.

Communicate

Second of the series: 
8 Strategies for Empowering your Nonprofit Board

Serving on a board is one of the most productive of volunteer activities available. Members agree to join because they want to be a part of delivering on the mission and purpose of the organization. Board members begin to question their involvement, however, when they become frustrated with communications that are inappropriately timed and executed.

Add Value to Membership

Third of the series: 
8 Strategies for Empowering your Nonprofit Board

Board leaders and members are usually good at understanding the value someone brings to the organization when they join the board. Potential board members are usually identified from dedicated donors and volunteers already involved with the organization. Previous service to the organization, a passion for the organization’s mission, and identified skills are at the core of a member’s value. Board members also add their personal status and community standing to the organization.

Embrace Diversity

Fourth of the series: 
8 Strategies for Empowering your Nonprofit Board

The best way to enjoy diversity in a board setting is to embrace the different skills and perspectives each board member brings to the group, regardless of demographics. Diversity can include race, culture, gender, age, geography, employment background or prior service.

Increase Expertise

Fifth of the series: 
8 Strategies for Empowering your Nonprofit Board

Board members come to their board service as a result of being passionate about the organization’s mission and as expression of support of the organization. Members bring experience, perspective, ideas, leadership and diverse skills, which provides oversight, governance and/or advice to ensure the success of the organization. It is no understatement to say that board membership usually requires a high level of commitment

Provide Meaningful Experiences

Sixth of the series: 
8 Strategies for Empowering your Nonprofit Board

Board membership provides a platform for making a significant contribution that helps the organization accomplish its mission. Your organization will benefit from board members who are eager to share time, talent, treasure, and ties, so make the experience meaningful. Immediately engage new members by assigning tasks they can do right away. Circle back to longer-term board members and encourage them to try participating in ways different from their past service.

Include Millennials

Seventh of the series: 
8 Strategies for Empowering your Nonprofit Board

The Millennial Generation is currently the largest generation in the workforce. By 2020, as the baby boomer generation declines, millennials are expected to become the largest living generation. Millennials are typically defined as those born between 1981 and 1999 and currently are 19 to 37 years old.

Recent Donor Bliss Consulting research on millennials included conversations and interviews with volunteers, leaders, fundraisers, board members, alumni relations experts and millennials themselves, both inside and outside of the nonprofit arena.

Strategically Plan

Eighth of the series: 
8 Strategies for Empowering your Nonprofit Board

Fans of Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, know that while it is important to be clear on our “why,” it is equally imperative for an organization to know the “how.” Most nonprofits are clear about their mission, their “why.” When articulating a vision for the future and determining how to best maximize board resources to achieve the vision, many nonprofits are stuck.

The solution we advocate is to employ a concise strategic plan that uses straightforward language to replace the typical multi-paged, five-year plan that few have read (and to which no one refers). Make your strategic plan work for you!