The Board Development Committee’s Contribution to Excellence

A nonprofit board’s ability to lead determines its nonprofit’s ability to excel. There are many aspects to good leadership. Three that are easy for a board to learn and that have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the mission, client outcomes, sustainability, community support, and donor engagement are:

Share Success – A board is unable to do everything. If it is focused on planning, policy setting, and monitoring activity like it should be. Therefore, a nonprofit’s success  results from the efforts of the staff and volunteers and the generous support of the donors and others..

By sharing success, the board is drawing attention to the staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders. Those individuals will be around longer than the members of the board. By highlighting their efforts, the board is saying that the good works of the nonprofit will continue for a long time.

Accept Responsibility – Accepting responsibility is a way for the board to say, “The staff was excellent, our leadership could have been better.” Accepting responsibility again tells everyone that they can have confidence in the staff, volunteers, and other supporters. It also helps to insulate the staff and others from criticism, which makes them more willing to report problems when it is still easy to fix the problem. That raises the trust level in your nonprofit and helps to increase teamwork. Keeping the problems small also increases the nonprofit’s sustainability and lowers the cost of fixing the problem.

Be Accountable – The board is responsible for evaluating performance, defining values, establishing principles, and setting standards, goals, and success measures. Challenging the nonprofit to be excellent by example, makes the standards of your nonprofit seem sincere, which raises everyone’s trust.

Self-accountability is important. Rarely are the actions of a board audited by an outside group. Therefore whether a board lives up to its own standards is dependent on its commitment to meeting the standards. To ensure standards are met, conduct periodic reviews.

Next Step:

Empower your board development committee to audit the leadership of your board

Require your board development committee to train your board members to be great leaders

Hold the board development committee accountable for raising the quality of your board’s leadership

The three important pillars profile a leadership team most people want to work for and be associated with. Nonprofits led by boards who exemplify those pillars find it easier to recruit staff members and volunteers, recruit and retain donors, and gather community support. Those leadership traits improve sustainability.

High standards which are honored and part of the nonprofit’s culture, increase mission effectiveness and operational efficiency. That optimizes the use of funds, which encourages donor confidence, generosity, and loyalty. As a result, the nonprofit enjoys a higher level of financial stability.

When your board development committee promotes good leadership, it makes a significant contribution to your nonprofit’s sustainability, reputation, community and donor support, the effectiveness of your mission, and the success of your clients.

Take It Further:

Encourage your board development committee to only recruit members who have a history of being the leaders your board aspires to be

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