By Kelly Medwick, EVP of Business Development at Firespring
There are a million reasons why any one particular nonprofit board member may stall out. Maybe they got promoted at their day job and their responsibilities grew. Or maybe their family grew, and they’re knee-deep in diapers and onesies. Maybe they’re on several boards, and their focus waxes and wanes. Or maybe—just maybe—they’ve lost that loving feeling. Hey, it happens, and it’s probably not you, it’s them. Regardless, sometimes board members just grow cold. Or lose interest. Or get bored. (Last time for that “bored board” thing, I promise.)
But you don’t have to say “thank you, next” at the first sign of a restless tribe member. If you have a board member or two who could use a little motivation and inspiration to kick it into gear for your organization, try these:
Get ‘em excited with a guest speaker.
Board meetings don’t have to be, well, you know… boring. Invite someone in to talk about why they’re passionate about your cause, whether it’s a longtime volunteer or someone who’s been helped by your organization. Let your board members hear firsthand what’s happening on the front lines and how your nonprofit is making an impact on the community. Maybe they’ve lost sight of that–or never even knew. And speaking of board meetings…
Plan something that’s not a snooze-fest.
Two-and-a-half hours of 15–20 people discussing issue after issue: Is that your idea of fun? It’s probably not your board’s either. If your board meets monthly, think strategically about what you want them to accomplish and how their meeting can be a win/win for both your board members and your org. A few tips: Feed them. Not a fancy steak dinner, but snacks or small appetizers will do. Start and end the meeting on time—90 minutes max. And have a written agenda. You might not be able to accomplish everything under the sun in 90 minutes, but if you get through the items on your agenda, mission accomplished.
Make communication easy.
If possible, create a password-protected portal on your website just for board members so they can easily catch up on notes from a previously missed meeting. Send out a monthly enewsletter. Be sure they’re on your mailing list for all other communications so they stay in the loop of what your organization is doing. Create a Facebook group just for your board where you can post about upcoming events, meetings, share photos—whatever you think will motivate and inspire them. Keep them in the know and foster communication between them, is what I’m saying. Don’t let them drift into the Abyss of No Information, which can lead them to the Dark Void of Apathy.
An inspired board is a happier board—and a much more motivated and productive board, going so far as (dare I say it?) helping to fundraise. In fact, I have a bunch of ideas about that too!
For some great tips and insights into how to turn your board members into legit fundraisers, you can access a free video of my Firespring webinar, “Get Your Board to Help You Fundraise
(Even if They Don’t Wanna!).” You’ll learn how to get your board on board with your fundraising initiatives and turn them into people who aren’t afraid to make the ask. Check it out whenever and wherever it works according to your schedule.