I hear that often, and every time I hear it, my skin crawls. So you’re a working board? Good for you! Show me a board that isn’t a working board, and I will show you an organization that is stuck in place. Every single successful nonprofit I have been a part of, has had a working board. With the current emphasis on keeping overhead costs to a minimum, your organization likely relies heavily on volunteer hours, particularly from your board.
Take the board responsibilities back to its very root. A board’s number one charge is to ensure the organization is fulfilling its mission. Yes, as part of that your board should be ensuring programs fall in line with your mission and doing an evaluation of your programs. Hopefully, your organization’s board hired its Chief Executive and regularly evaluates that individual.
Your board should also be serving as ambassadors, representing your organization in a positive light whenever given the opportunity…and even creating the opportunities to do so.
What is equally true is that in almost every case, your board also HAS to be part of your fundraising efforts. I simply cannot say it strongly enough: when you go to ask a donor for money, your efforts will be for naught if you can’t tell that donor that every member of your board has made a financial contribution to your cause. To ensure your organization has the financial resources needed to carry out your mission is a given. Part of that responsibility means that every board member should be taking out his checkbook and writing you a check every single year.
Picture yourself being approached and asked to contribute to a cause that the development officer is certain resonates with you. If you found out the board of that cause only had 75% of board members contribute themselves, would you still give? If it isn’t important to board members, why should it be important to you?