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.
Board leadership should make sure there is an abundance of value in both directions. While the organization is focused on completing its mission, there are ample opportunities to “give back” to board members.
- Help members build their personal and professional network by encouraging and providing opportunities for fellowship within board membership. This is also an excellent way for longer-term board members to help new members learn more about how to be successful while on your board.
- Engage board members on a variety of levels of service to help them get more out of their service than simply service. Most board members express a similar sentiment that they get far more out of service than they put in. Board membership provides a platform for making a significant contribution that helps the organization accomplish its mission. The more they give, the overall service experience becomes more enjoyable.
- Provide opportunities for board members to express their values by working with you on your mission. This is especially important for young board members who value the opportunity to build their network, establish community visibility and have the status of board membership.
- Maintain a high status of the organization within the community. Boards convey the status of the organization to its board members. Because members are invited to join (versus volunteering to join), organization status enhances personal and sometimes professional status.
- Provide training opportunities that enhance professional skills (as we discuss in Empowering Board Members – Increase Expertise). This also helps to make board service to your organization attractive to prospective board members.
Board members become active with an organization because they want to give back in some way. Their commitment to remain with the organization is not only because the service is fulfilling, but also because of how association with the organization makes them feel. By “giving back” to your board members, you are confirming to them that their service is of high value to your organization.
See also Empowering Board Members – Ensure a Successful Start.
Make providing an engaging value proposition for your board members a part of your organization’s strategic plan. Contact us to learn how.