Man dreaming about boardCreate the Nonprofit Board of Your Dreams

In a dream, you are at a board meeting. Your board members are 100 percent supportive, challenge you in friendly ways, encourage you to lead, make decisions, and send cheers of thanks to the staff for their work. Finally, just before your alarm rings, they pass around an envelope and fill it with personal checks to establish a board challenge fund.

It’s lovely to dream of a supportive board. It is even better to have a plan and route to create one. Planning how you will effectively grow a supportive board is the difference between being on the road to your destination and just having another dream. A solid plan will clarify your outcomes and select the best alternatives to achieving your goal. Such planning involves research, analysis, thinking, and ongoing leadership.

Why You Need A Board Excellence Plan
Five Professional Reasons

  1. Board members invest hours of their free time for your cause. Board Source reports that this averages 15.9 hours per month per member. Your board members want to make productive use of this time investment.
  2. You need the help. No nonprofit that seeks to create more mission and move toward its vision can do it alone. Board members, especially supportive and productive ones, are generals in your war to change the world.
  3. You invited your board member to be on the board to share their skills, so you want to maximize them to benefit your nonprofit. Members who get to use their best gifts are more engaged. And, offering people a chance to use their gifts makes board recruitment easier.
  4. You need a board plan to obtain what money cannot buy. Perhaps it’s a board member calling you to say, “I have someone I want you to meet.” Perhaps you need help gracefully saying no to an appealing opportunity that is only tangentially related to your mission. Whatever “it’ is, board excellence provides invaluable resources and wisdom that money cannot buy.
  5. To enhance your credibility as you compete for income. While you don’t need a board excellence plan to compete, having one will increase your competitiveness with the seven income streams.

Two Personal Reasons

  1. You, like most executive directors, spend up to 20 hours per month doing board work, according to Daring to Lead. If you translate this into dollars, year in, year out, this is a tremendous investment for your nonprofit. What’s more, it’s a huge investment of your time. Board work can be pleasant and productive; using your Board Excellence Plan is your intentional process to get there.
  2. You want to be “very satisfied.” According to Daring to Lead, only 20 percent of the 3,000 executives surveyed were “very satisfied” with their board performance. One in five nonprofit executives is very satisfied.

A supportive board is more than a dream, so act. It’s an obtainable goal.

Here are a handful of reasons why board excellence planning is critical to your nonprofit. Good plans move organizations toward quality.

Nonprofits with supportive, engaged boards don’t just wake up with them one day, fait accompli. A board excellence plan helps you, staff, board members, and other supporters to recognize that achieving excellence is possible with intentional efforts. Be intentional about getting the board you want. Yes, dream the dream. Then, wake and create a plan to grow one. Start today. Start with writing down the goal you have for your board—next, list your steps to get there.

For more about what’s possible, see these related resources: