Sunday, July 29, 2012

Engaging Members Beyond the Board

Are you lucky enough to have a Board of Directors who are highly engaged? Does that engagement extend into the general membership? In other words, are your volunteers and your board the same people?

I ask these questions because I have worked at non profits where the Board is highly energized and engaged.  They have a passion, mission and vision for the future of the organization, which can be almost infectious.  A recent conversation I had with a client, they told me how excited and engaged their board was, but it's hard to bottle that enthusiasm and translate it into actionable items for both the board and the staff.  So how do we bridge the gap?

Here are some ideas that I have used in the past, in no particular order:

  1. Provide your Board members with a script to call 5 members a month and ask them to volunteer, attend an event, renew their dues, sponsor a program.  Realizing that the Board often times have full time jobs that don't relate to their duties for your association's board providing them with the tools that they need build the organization will help your association.
  2. Create an agenda for each Board meeting so that they can stay on topic and focused on improving the association.  At the start of each meeting agree that while we are all passionate about the association, in order to move the organization forward and stay relevant we need to focus. 
  3. Create a list of Board/Association priorities.  During your creative brainstorming sessions you may come up with a host of great ideas.  How does this new idea fit into the strategic plan? Is it relevant to your membership, will it provide them a benefit that they cannot get anyplace else?
  4.  Remember the mission.  At the end of the day, associations exist for one thing and one thing alone to serve their members needs.  By keeping this top-of-mind you will only help both your Board and your association. 
Got any ideas of your own that work? Feel free to share them here. 

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