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Treat the Board Members Right

Nonprofits want their board members to donate generously, solicit donations from others, and recruit new donors. It can be a realistic expectation.

If you are willing to do the following, it is realistic to think your board will fulfill your expectations.

Select – Be selective when you recruit board members. Limit your candidate pool to those who are passionate about your mission, have a history of volunteering and donating, and have the skills (accounting, legal, technology, marketing, etc.) you need.

Establish Expectations – Tell your candidates what you expect of them before you elect them to the board.

Orient – Orient your board members once you elect them. Ensure they know how the board works and what the board should focus on, also share the details of the mission, its promises, and how your nonprofit’s processes are used to fulfill the mission.

Cultivate – Throughout the time they are on the board, cultivate their interests and passion.

Teach – Teach each board member how to do everything that is expected of them. For example, if you want them to cultivate donors, teach them how to cultivate donors using the best practices your nonprofit has developed. Use the way you treat your board as a model for them to follow when they cultivate others.

Engage – Use each board member the way they want to be used. If they are doing what they want to do, they will develop a sense of fulfillment and purpose. In addition, they will work with enthusiasm because they will achieve goals that are important to both the mission and themselves.

Encourage – Provide each board member with feedback. They want to be great. Your feedback will help them achieve greatness.

Reward – Ensure your board members each feel like they are the most valuable asset your nonprofit has. They joined your board to serve something that is very important to them. Knowing that they are important to the mission will ensure you receive their best efforts.

Next Step:

Be selective when recruiting prospective board members

Be intentional about developing, training, and rewarding board members

Create a close partnership between the fundraising team, the board, and its individual members

Rewarding the board members also provides them with a valuable experience. When they experience how you treat people you think are important, it will be easier for them to recruit others to serve and give. Your board members will be confident that those they enlist on behalf of your nonprofit will be treated appropriately and deeply appreciated.

Having a great board is a big step toward ensuring the sustainability of your nonprofit. In addition, it makes the fundraising easier and more successful. The most important benefit is that the clients will receive the services everyone wants them to have.

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