Oftentimes, board meetings can be monotonous and can get boring when members are made to go through the motions every time. Board members can feel from time to time that they would rather be elsewhere than sit through many hours of mind-numbing discussions. It is really unfortunate that board members who are the most effective financial supporters, advocates and network builders can be left uninspired and unmotivated after each board meeting. If you are going through something of this nature and your board needs a spark, here are some practical ideas you can use to help create a high performing and motivated board of directors.
Motivate Board Members
On the recruiting end, one of the easiest ways to motivate potential board members is by effectively communicating your mission. You can also tell greats stories, organise tours and ensure that they see how the organisation is making a great impact. Subsequently, after they come on board, it is essential for you to continue to inspire them as they may be buried in a lot of paperwork. Here are some tactics to implement to get the board members inspired:
- Start and end each board meeting on time. You can choose to either start your meeting with stories or with a heart-touching video that is directly connected to the organisation to set the tone for the meeting.
- People get inspired by the stories of others. Bring in clients, program participants, and other stakeholders who have in one way or the other benefited from your organisation to share their experiences.
- In a Not-For-Profit environment, a Development Director could share stories of how giving has positively impacted on the life of a beneficiary to reinforce the importance of the work of the board.
- Training of board members, especially the new ones should be a priority. You must ensure that the new board members are able to shadow the old and experienced ones to learn first-hand how to function effectively.
- Personalize the relationship between the board members by ensuring that they spend enough time together and provide incentives for board members who perform effectively.
Provide Clear Direction
Every board member needs to be fully aware of the mission, goals and objectives of the organisation every given time. You do not want to organise a meeting where members do not fully participate, and the discussion is not driven by purpose. Practical ways to get every member on board with your plans include the mission of the organisation should be effectively communicated to each board member and they should be willing to participate fully in actualizing it. Members of the board need to have a clear program, project or event that they are assigned to work towards. Some specifics of current projects or programs need to be discussed and you need to get some inputs from your board members. Set high expectations yearly and ensure that board members are effectively motivated and evaluated to meet up with them.
Excite & Inspire
People naturally get bored over-time especially when they are made to experience a two to three hours’ event that is mostly just about board information that really should have been reviewed before the meeting. In order to ensure that board members are not sleeping during the meeting, you need to implement the following tactics. The main work should typically be done before the meeting. Set up committees and ensure that they both project-oriented and functional such that issues like development, finance, HR, etc. as well as how some projects will be done are dealt with and resolved. Organise a yearly retreat for members of the board. Board members need to feel like a family or a community and one of the ways of fostering health productive relationships is to ensure that each member host a party at least once a year. Membership to your board should be on a tenure-ship as this will encourage new members to want to join. Ensure that the meeting does not extend for a long period than necessary so that prior to the meeting members are not already discouraged to attend. Make sure all the essential information prior to the meeting, is communicated to the board members.
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