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7 Ways to Spice Up Your Nonprofit’s Board Meetings

By: Tricia Love Thomas

You want board members who can contribute to your mission through their efforts, contacts or money. Stated simply, they need to have a passion for your mission. This ensures a level of interest that will help even if board members have different opinions on how to achieve the mission.

Board composition cannot be underestimated as it is the foundation to having an effective board and meetings.

1. Be Organized

Prepare an agenda ahead of time and stick to it. Set time tables as a guide to keep board members on track in order to start and finish the meeting on time and get through your whole agenda.

Starting and ending meetings on time, whether you meet before work or after work, shows that you respect their time and commitment to your organization.

2. Ask for Input

Some people are more outgoing and outspoken than others, so make sure you ask for input. Instead of asking if anyone has a comment, specifically ask Joe or Mary what they think about the issues being addressed to engage them in the discussion. Some people have very good ideas and are not afraid to express them but they may not want to initiate the discussion on their own. Try to keep the extroverts and introverts on the board in balance.

3. Promote Your Success Stories

Tell the board about the organization’s accomplishments. Whether it’s how many animals were adopted or how many disadvantaged people got jobs through your job training program, share the story.

Let’s face it: When people have a passion for the mission, they love to hear that the organization is accomplishing its goals. Whenever possible, bring in the people who benefitted from the story to personally present their story to the board. The room will fill with tears of joy and happiness over their accomplishments.

4. Bring In Guest Speakers

Don’t be afraid to bring in guest speakers. You may have issues with marketing, accounting or finance, investment management, or some type of compliance.

Use guest speakers to help build your board’s skill level. Your board members are not experts in ALL areas — some specialize in finance, while others specialize in programming — so expanding all of their knowledge is good for the board.

5. Enhance the Presentation

Something can also be said for changing up your presentation methods. Sometimes, just talking is fine, but having handouts enhanced by graphics, or a visual presentation, is better. Some people are auditory learners and others are visual learners, so mix it up to appeal to everyone.

6. Don’t Forget Refreshments!

Do not underestimate the power of refreshments. Whether you have coffee and bagels at a morning meeting or soda and snacks at an after-work meeting, people appreciate it. Full meals are not necessary, but simple snacks help keep energy levels up.

7. Figure Out What Your Board Members Enjoy

If your board members are very “Robert's Rules of Order”-oriented, then your board meeting should be more formal and may not allow for some of the digressions described above. If your board members like to have fun at meetings, and you want to start every meeting with playing “Name that Tune” with your favorite Elvis songs, then in the words of Nike — JUST DO IT!

Need Help?

Contact our Nonprofit Group online or call 800.899.4623.

Published July 19, 2021

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