Most people do not join nonprofit boards of directors to ruin nonprofit organizations. Or to cause the executive director and other board members heartburn. Or to actively avoid fundraising.
In fact, our research shows that most people join nonprofit boards for two reasons:
- Passion for the mission
- Wanting to help their community
So why do so many nonprofits experience frustration with the perceived lack of commitment and engagement of some of their board members? We’ve observed several factors that lead to board member disengagement and micro-managing:
- Warm-body recruiting, usually expressed in pre-recruitment statements like “I think I can get Joe to join the board if we promise he won’t have to do fundraising or go to committee meetings.
- No organizational strategy (we can help with that as well)
- Unclear expectations about what is really needed
- Board members not clear on their roles and responsibilities
- Board members not having the knowledge of the skills they need to be effective
- Boring board meetings with little substance to engage board members in driving the success of the organization
- Failure to use board member strengths in addressing the organization’s most compelling issues and opportunities
I wanted to thank you for an excellent session on Friday. I think we accomplished more than I anticipated going in and you did a masterful job guiding our staff and board through a process that I think made everyone feel fully comfortable with their individual roles in fundraising and that got them to a place where they felt comfortable in making specific commitments.
What an incredible session last night! Thank you for your unique skills in getting our group to think about fundraising in a very different way. Your approach makes it understandable and easy to implement. AND… it’s obvious that you like what you do. I love being around people who like what they do!
Janine Vanderburg and her team lead our board members and some senior staff through a terrific two-hour retreat focused on successful board fundraising. Our board members have traditionally not had to engage in fundraising for the organization so no systems were really in place to enable them to play this important role. Janine had just the right level of energy, enthusiasm and expertise to guide us through a process that helped us all develop our own language to connect new people to our organization. It culminated with a session in which everyone made personal commitments to take concrete steps that play to individual strengths and that will get us on the road to greater funding diversity. A huge thank you to Janine and her team for one of the most useful trainings I’ve participated in!
Not sure where to get started? Give us a call and we can help. It’s never too late to have the board of your dreams.
Products and Services
Our leadership development products and services directly address these root causes. Based on the latest research and our successful work with boards for over a quarter of a century, our team can:
- Develop a strategic plan that aligns everyone in your organization, including board members, around the most important goals in your organization
- Work with you to create a board recruitment plan that will help you recruit the kind of all-star team members you need to have social impact, no matter where you are right now
- Train your board members in the roles and responsibilities that are needed for your organization. Hint! Not all organizations need the same thing, which is why generic trainings on board roles and responsibilities are often not useful.
- Lead strengths-based retreats to identify your board members’ strengths and talents and how they can be best leveraged to help your nonprofit do more, and better!
- Facilitate an on-site Engage Your Board in Fundraising workshop, which embeds teaching some fundamentals of nonprofit fundraising into a fun, interactive session, resulting in board members making specific fundraising commitments.
Trainings and Events
We also provide a variety of board development and nonprofit governance trainings and events.