Honoring Board Members

Three Ways to Cultivate a Positive Board Culture

If you have ever been involved with a nonprofit organization, you know the impact of a positive culture among the Board of Directors.  How does a great organization keep positive, productive board members?  Here are three ideas for your consideration.

Present board members

Let them participate. Plan board meetings to include plenty of discussion time.  Humanitarian Social Innovations (HSI)Portrait of business people discussing a new strategy at a seminar started a tradition of also asking for closing comments at each board meeting.  Before the final gavel, each board member in turn shares observations and thoughts that were unspoken during the meeting, but are for the good of the order.  This reinforces that each member’s perceptions and ideas have value for the whole board.

Future board members

Let them test the waters-Make opportunities for potential board candidates to volunteer on a committee.  Your organization gets to know a potential board member and that person gets a sense of the organization.  If you are lucky, these future board members will give you some great feedback along the way and will grow in anticipation of the time when they can contribute as an elected board member.

Past board members

Let them stay connected-A beloved, tenured college professor who can no longer teach becomes a professor emeritus. At HSI we apply this concept to our Board of Directors. Active board members in good standing may, at the completion of board service, be nominated for the Emeritus Board. These honorary, nonvoting board members may attend board meetings or committee meetings if they like, or stay on as committee members. They may serve in many other ways throughout the organization. The positive cultural message is that their service was meaningful and appreciated, and the organization would like to keep them close by.

How do you keep a positive culture on your Board of Directors?  Share your ideas!