Orientation matters; otherwise, everything can become unbalanced and out of whack.
Please don’t leave your new (or old for that matter) board members dangling!
Being a board member is not something we’re generally taught. In fact, it can be a complete mystery. Folks feel proud to have been recruited to join your board, and excited to begin their service, but… what happens next can mean the difference between a fulfilling experience and a disappointing one.
Do you have a board orientation strategy?
I don’t just mean in a dusty handbook somewhere on a shelf or in a file no one can find. I mean a vibrant orientation approach that kicks in the moment your board candidate says “yes” and, subsequently, as soon as they’re voted in by the full board.
Recruitment is just the tip of the iceberg of building an effective board.
It’s an important “tip,” don’t get me wrong. And all too often it’s handled poorly, leading to nothing but problems down the line. One of the most common complaints I hear from nonprofit staff is their board won’t help with fundraising. And the most common reason is the board members tell me: “I wasn’t told I’d have to help with fundraising,” or even worse “I was told I didn’t have to fundraise.” Don’t put yourself in this bait and switch mode.
From the get-go, explain to prospective board members what’s expected of them.
All should be involved in some way in giving and getting. Once they sign on, solidify this agreement and their critical role as ambassadors, advocates and askers during the orientation process. Most board members are good people who genuinely want to help. They just need your support and encouragement along the way.