Do you feel like your organization has been in a stalemate in the last few years?
If you do and you want to point to something besides the economic downturn, you might examine how board members are chosen and what expectations you have of them. While this may seem like a no-brainer, finding the right mix of personality and strengths on your board is a fine art.
For instance, while you may seek high-profile public figures or people with wealth, questioning their belief in the cause is truly an essential step in the nomination process. Some questions that you might ask board candidates:
- Are you willing to invest both financial contributions and time in this board? Be specific.
- What is your interest in the cause?
- What other nonprofits have you been involved in, and to what extent?
- What expectations do you have of staff?
- Are you willing to ask your peers for donations?
- Are you a big thinker or a detail person?
Once a new member joins your board, then what do you do to bring them up to speed on the various programs and initiatives? Do you as the staff member ask for input enough to make their presence valuable? Do your board members have specific tasks, which are meaningful and also limited enough to seem manageable?
Finally, have you as a development professional experienced the board perspective yourself? Just last year, I was elected chair of my church’s parish council. I find there is a fine line between relying on the staff to manage the day to day and having them do so much that the council feels unused. We have had an ongoing discussion about leadership from the various committees and on our council, and yet I wonder if some people know the staff will step in and do not take their presence at meetings seriously.
In all, bringing out the best talents of your leadership is a road that is not always easy to navigate. But plugging through it mile by mile makes the journey worth it in the end!
What obstacles have you come across when gearing you leadership to act more like fundraisers?
What are some things you have done that WORKED?
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