Keep Boredom out of the Boardroom

June 27, 2014 - by Lynn Mehaffy

Keep Boredom out of the Boardroom


We often hear “How do we get our Board more invested in our fundraising efforts?”  Well, I recently attended four Board meetings where the Board was very engaged in fundraising, eager to learn more and excited to take an active role. 

How did these organizations get their Board members so excited and engaged in fundraising?  Here are three tips.

Remind Board members why they are there.  When I was on the Board at Community Council for the Homeless, all meetings began with a presentation from service recipients.  Many came in person to tell their stories.  Those who weren’t ready to do that sent notes or recorded messages.  It was incredibly moving.   These stories made me want to work even harder.  Think of ways to bring your core mission to the forefront of the Board meetings and you’ll have an easier time getting people to take action.

Actively connect your Board to donors.  That sounds funny, I know.  Many Board members are already well connected and may have been chosen specifically for their friend-raising abilities.  But get them connected to your major donors they may not know.  One organization we work with uses the first ten minutes of every Board meeting for each member to make five “thank you” calls to higher-level donors.  She’s told us these connections have led to real interaction.  Just think about how great the conversation is when two individuals connect over something they both really care about!  And, you just might find a potential new Board member.

Don’t be afraid to make changes.   If you find that some long-term Board members are feeling less enchanted, or if certain committees don’t generate great results, mix it up.  Talk to people about their interests and passions.  Find out why they fell in love with the organization in the first place.  Ask them what they would be most excited to do to further the organization’s mission.  You just might be surprised.  We all know that people feel most engaged doing something they love – something they’re good at – so find out what that is and see if some redirection can bring back their passion. 

I feel very fortunate to have had the pleasure of working with a number of great organizations that were led by very engaged and passionate Board members and I believe that makes all the difference in the world.  I hope one of these tips might help re-energize your Board.



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