September 13, 2018

How Can You Activate Meeting-Only Board?

Your board members are active at meetings, but otherwise uninspired to help with fun social media and easy fundraising tasks. List to this video to discover your next steps on this good-to-have challenge.

Transcript of How to Engage Meeting Only Nonprofit Boards?

Hey, I’m Karen Eber Davis. You have a good problem. You have a board that’s active and the meetings and engaged in what you’re doing when they’re together, but they’re not so interested in maybe your small fundraising events and social media activities you would like them to be doing. So this is a good problem because they are already active and there are some things you can do.

Discover Your Starting Point

First off, begin by making a measurement of where they are now. A number of ways you can do this, but the goal is to say, “Okay, they’re not doing that much. What is it are they doing? Do they actually have some social media activity? Are they doing anything? Is it zero, or is it really like five, and we want it to be twenty times a month? It depends on where you are at. Many times boards are doing things as we ask them that we’re not celebrating. Not saying, “This is so great. You’re doing this. Can you do more?

Which is a lot different than saying you’re not doing anything. Again now, I know you don’t do that, but the message comes through that we’re disappointed in you. You’re not really performing. You’re not doing what we hope. Instead of saying, “It’s so great, you’re doing something. Let me show you how to do more and be even more effective for us.

Asking for the Best

So you’ve done that. So where are we at now? Another piece to do is to be very, very careful about what you ask. Are you really asking important things? Are you asking for things that really don’t matter? And are you asking for hundreds of them? The goal here is to identify what are the ten or five most critical activities we want this board to do in this next quarter this next year.

One-on-One Conversations

Once you know that, you’re ready for your third piece, which is conversations with board members, saying, “What is it that you love? What is it that you can really help us with? We have these ten critical activities, which of them feels like it’s yours, and so it may not be to every board member plays the game and does the social media piece or whatever activities you want them to do.

But if you get the important things done and they love doing it, you’ll find there’s more spill over into other activities that maybe they don’t love so much, but they want to put part of the team that they see that the effort is working and that their efforts can be magnified by other team members doing activities together.

More Resources

So I am Karen Eber Davis, and there’s lots more about how to work with boards in my newsletter. The link will be in the narrative of this video.


Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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