Build a More Effective Board
Tips on Developing a More Productive & Engaged Board

Jump-start your organization’s board season with strategic goals and fresh thinking. Whether your organization is looking to build a solid foundation through fundamentals or boost board effectiveness, below are tips gathered from our workshop on developing a more productive and engaged Board of Directors.

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Exceptional boards are made, not born. Know the lifecycle of your board and the role it should play. Know the difference between the board managing itself and the board leading the organization. Set and communicate expectations then follow-up! Comprise your board of people who are committed to being partners, listeners, consensus builders, ethical watchdogs, naïve questioners, discreet ambassadors and energetically engaged.

 
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A strong board starts with a strong foundation. When recruiting new board members consider the current board profile (skills & demographics), the next 1-3 years of organizational work and gaps resulting from retiring board members. An annual recruitment calendar typically takes 9-months. Develop clear expectations around attendance requirements, committee participation, financial support, ambassadorship and confidentiality/policy understanding.

 
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Plan strategically. Work from a strategic plan. If you don’t have one, create one. Regularly use your strategic plan to prioritize and manage your organization's work as well as assess how you’re doing. It should be the compass for deciding “what's in” and “what’s out” of scope for the organization. Strategic planning is a key responsibility of the board and should be revised every few years.

 
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Make fundraising a priority. Create a solid fundraising plan and elect a fundraising committee chair with experience. Enlist support from board members to identify donor prospects, make thank you calls, solicit donations and host events. Develop a database to store donor information.

 
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Continually boost your board's engagement. Value your board's time by starting and ending on time and sending materials in advance. Set a clear tone with leadership from the Board Chair. Review board member goals annually and conduct board performance assessment surveys every 1-2 years. Don't allow contentious board members to hijack meetings.

Questions? Let's chat! Email us at info@causewave.org with any questions, comments or personal experiences. We’d love to hear from you.