As some of you may know, I sit on several committee and boards, because I believe it is important to support the organizations whose missions are close to my heart. Even though I am not a major gifts prospect, I am an asset to these organizations because of my expertise in nonprofits, specifically in raising funds. I am happy to help, but I have to say, that many times, I am just plain BORED during the board meetings!
I know that by sitting on the board, I have a legal and fiduciary responsibility for the organization, but many times, these meetings are the one and only time that I can be engaged in the mission. I don’t want to approve minutes and listen to reports. What I want to do is help advance the mission, and I want to have lively discussions where I leave the meetings energized.
I have been informally polling other board members from various nonprofits, and I have found that I am not alone. This means that the structure for board meetings need to change so that your high level volunteers are not bored.
So what can you do? For starters:
- Before each meeting, send out the agenda, minutes for approval, along with the various reports (including the financials). Ask members to read the material prior to the meeting.
- At the beginning of the meeting, field any questions members might have about the reports.
- Have 2 active discussion topics
- A problem that is facing the organization
- An opportunity that is facing the organization
- Mission oriented interaction that is outside of the board room
- Closing meal with organization’s clients, volunteers, and/or staff
And don’t forget to ask your bored members, what they want out of their board meetings.