Most CEO/EDs I consult with are frustrated with their board of directors. I too was frustrated with my board when I served as the CEO of a nonprofit organization. Here are 4 tips to work better with the board.
1. Remember they are volunteers. Board members are busy people with full-time jobs and families. They do not live and breathe your mission. That is your role. You are the paid staff person. It is your job to motivate and engage the board.
2. Set the expectation. A nonprofit board is only as strong as the education and direction that they receive. Your board should be oriented and educated on their roles and responsibilities. The orientation should include a board annual performance plan. Think of it like this, you wouldn’t hire someone to work for you without explaining the job and how their performance will be evaluated.
3. Offer different ways to support fundraising. Not all board members will make the “ask” but that does not mean they cannot participate in the fundraising process. Board members can serve as door openers. Opening the door and introducing you to prospective donors. They can assist with cultivation by inviting potential donors on tours of your organization. They can assist with stewardships and send thank you cards or make thank you calls. All these functions are key in the fundraising process.
4. Fundraising is staff-led. It is up to the CEO/ED to motivate the board. You must continually communicate with them to let them know of the need. Do not solely communicate the number of tables that need to be sold but focus on the need and case for support.
I hope this helps. Your feedback is appreciated. Leave a comment below on any tips you may have in working with a nonprofit board. Sharing is caring.
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