The success of a nonprofit depends largely on how many outside people are receiving and responding to its message. Board members have the unique opportunity to be instrumental in promoting that message in an engaging way to the community.
Here are 4 steps nonprofits can take to make their board members better ambassadors for their organization.
Remember, a good nonprofit ambassador can make a world of difference in how well the organization does at achieving its goals.
- Have a board recruitment process
The process of turning your board members into ambassadors begins at the beginning: recruitment.
It is like creating a winning sports team. You recruit talented players that fit the team and then you can start strategizing about spreading your message through your community.
The selection of board members should be based on an in-depth look at what the board in whole needs to round out a well-balanced, highly diverse, dedicated group of individuals.
Here are some skills or characteristics common on effective nonprofit boards:
- Passion – a deep interest in the mission of your organization.
- Vision and Leadership — the ability to see the big picture and the courage to set the direction to achieve the organization’s mission.
- Knowledge — knowledge of your organization and willingness to learn and seek personal and professional development.
- Diligence — dedication and commitment to fulfilling your organization’s goals.
- Collegiality — possessing a sincere and respectful attitude toward colleagues and their views.
- Discretion — Maintains confidentiality of board discussions and speaks with one voice when representing the organization to the community.
- Professional Skills – Because board members are responsible for governance, it’s best to have a few who understand sophisticated legal, financial, or business issues.
Once you’ve identified what you need, look at what you have. Where are the gaps in your current board? This is where your recruitment efforts should focus.
- Host a board orientation
Once you’ve got your team assembled, you need to make sure every member on your board has enough information about your organization to speak intelligently about it.
An orientation session should be held. This will help the new member participate fully on the board as quickly as possible.
By the conclusion of the orientation, new board members should have a sense of:
- the organization’s mission and programs,
- the organization’s finances,
- the organization’s fundraising initiatives,
- the structure of the board and staff, and
- their roles and responsibilities as board members.
As part of creating ambassadors, orientations facilitate new board members acquainting themselves thoroughly with the organization so they can go out into the world to spread the news about your nonprofit.
- Create an elevator speech
An elevator speech is a quick synopsis of your nonprofit organization. The reason it’s called an elevator speech is that it should be short enough to present during a brief elevator ride.
To ensure your board members stay on message when it comes to explaining to others what your organization is all about work with them to create a unified elevator speech. This speech should clearly articulate your organization’s key brand messages.
- Add a mission moment to your board agenda
Board members want to be strong advocates and storytellers, but often don’t have the tools they need to do this well. To ensure your board has firsthand stories about your organization that they can share with others kick each board meeting off with a mission moment. This should only take up about 5 minutes of the agenda.
You can have a client tell their nonprofit story to the board. If clients are not available at your meeting time, consider using video testimonials. This is easily accomplished using a cell phone video.
The goal of this is twofold: 1. It helps the board stay connected to your nonprofit’s purpose and 2. It gives your board a database of stories they can share in the community especially with prospective donors. They will have real-life stories that show your mission’s impact.
I hope this helps. Let me know in the comments and if you have other ways you are creating ambassadors I would love to know. Sharing is Caring.
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