Are your frustrated?
Do you have members of your Board that do not donate to your organization annually? Do you find yourself “walking on eggs,” constantly defending yourself and your staff to Board members who seem to be unhappy with your performance?
Do you find yourself mumbling under your breath, “they just don’t get it.” If so, you are not alone.
Why is it that many Boards view fundraising, advocacy, public relations, marketing as something the “staff” does. The Board seems to disconnect itself, totally, from these shared responsibilities.
If these Board member symtoms are all too apparent maybe it’s time to review Board responsibilities?
It’s all about the Mission…
As a non-profit professional you already know that you have to get Board members and potential donors involved in the Mission. They have to be become aware of what your are doing. Then, they have to be engaged on the front lines, where people served in some extra-ordinary way.
After awareness and engagement, they have to motivated to act. Then, and only then, do these Board member potential donors, become committed “investors” in your Mission of service.
So, what can you do to help Board members gain greater awareness for the extraordinary work that takes place daily through service to your clients? What can you do to “light the fire” moving members from passive to engaged, from complacent to committed?
Your Boards number one responsibility…
Every non-profit Board members number one responsibility is to ensure the long term viability of your organization.
With that thought in mind, Board members should believe in the your mission and act prudently as its steward. They should be willing to become fully informed, coming to know and understand your programs, your values, and how you serve others in our community.
They should be willing to act as an advocate/ spokesperson for your cause. They should make a personal financial contribution at some meaningful level. They should actively participate in your activities fundraising or otherwise. They should be willing to provide names of, or write personal letters to, friends and associates in support at least one fundraising event per year.
And, get this one, they should be willing to carefully consider including your organization with a bequest gift through their will, or consider another planned gift, i.e., annuity, insurance beneficiary, retirement plan beneficiary, etc.
Your responsibility to your Board…
As Board liaison, you must keep your Board members fully informed. At minimum you must, without request, send timely financial reports and an update of organizational activities.
Access must be available to Board members so they can discuss with the CEO and/or the Board Chair the programs, goals and, activities of your organization and the status of same.
The CEO must help Board members to perform their duties by keeping them informed about issues in the pursuit of your mission and areas in which you are working.
Staff members should work with Board members in good faith towards achievement of your goals. Therefore, they must seek interaction and engagement with Board members through appropriate committees.
The more engaged and involved the Board member becomes the more likely he/she will be to offering financial support.