Want to be a better board member? Be proactive.

 In Board Engagement and Governance

“More than 50% of board members do not believe their fellow members are very experienced or engaged in their work.”
-Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2014 Survey of 924 Nonprofit Directors

We often talk with board members who don’t feel like they’re doing enough, are not sure how to contribute and say, “No one has asked for my help.” Most times, board members join with the best of intentions but then engagement fades as they lose site of their role, responsibilities and sense of purpose.

So what can you as a board member do? Here’s 5 ideas:

  1. Is it clear what is expected of you as a board member?
    If not, consider leading the charge to develop a Board Member Agreement that outlines board responsibilities and sets clear expectations.
  2. Join a committee!
    Evaluate the list of committees and see where you can offer the most value. (And if you’re someone who’s comfortable asking for money, by all means, join the Development Committee! That assistance is always welcome!)
  3. Develop a relationship with the Executive Director and Board Chair.
    This will help you better understand the organization, its needs, and its history.
  4. Is there an onboarding process in place for new board members?
    If not, consider working with the leadership to create one and/or offering to mentor a new board member. 
  5. Are you able to access board information in an organized and timely way? 
    Board portals (like BellesBoard!) grow engagement because there’s always an easy way to locate meeting information, key documents & metrics and contact information.

In essence, be proactive. Offer to use your skill sets to help the Executive Director and Board Chair with board management items.

We would love to hear about what’s working at your organization to grow board engagement! Share in the comments section below. 


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