You want them to work together well. You want their support. What works? Help them to know each other. Help them learn if they can trust each other. Over time, and sooner with your leadership, most of your directors will learn to trust each other. As trust grows, your meetings will become more productive and in time more supportive of your nonprofit. Most importantly, the board of directors will become a sub-community with deep and enduring connections to your nonprofit.
How might you start fulfilling this grand vision? Find ways for them to learn why they are one of your directors. Ask them to have one-on-one conversations to share their stories. What brings them to the table? What draws them to this nonprofit? Why did you say “yes” to being on the board?
Directors who share conversations about “why I am here,” find people with whom they share common purposes and passions. Involvement might spring from a lifetime interest, a sad experience, or a commitment to your city. When commonalities are found, people are pleased, reassured, and energized. Remember how great it feels when you think you are alone but discover, “You too? I thought I was the only one.” Even if commonalities are slim, learning why others are part of the group provides benefits. It builds respect and provides clarity into the comments, frustrations, and recommendations made in future meetings. “I remember you shared that you are passionate about helping the children of this city. I’m guessing your concern about expansion to Baltimore is that the children here might be shortchanged? Is that correct?”
Accelerate growing a board of directors that works together well. Start with their stories. Help these to get shared. At your next meeting, ask your directors to share why they said “Yes.” Help them to work together so they can more easily provide your nonprofit support.
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