Board Engagement – In and Out of the Boardroom

By Sarah Sain

It’s a simple truth that associations can’t operate without the board and their support, so the question becomes: How do association executives and board members become allies?

Alison Best, CDME, partner with CFO by Design, attempted to help answer that questions with tools for associations of all sizes and in all industries at the 2019 New Ideas Annual Conference.

She emphasized the importance of a board orientation, saying it’s too late if that orientation happens after your members join the board. You should make sure they know the expectations before committing to their new role. A comprehensive orientation should include the following:

  • An overview of the association’s history
  • Mission statement and values
  • Strategic plan
  • Marketing materials
  • Bios of current staff and volunteers
  • Job descriptions for the executive director and board member positions
  • Calendar of meetings and important events
  • Conflict of interest policy
  • Recent financial reports
  • Bylaws and certificate of incorporation
  • Insurance coverage

Provide written resources, but also provide interactive and ongoing educational activities like mentoring, retreats, and training for how to handle public relations, fundraising and advocacy. You should also have each board member do a self-evaluation to identify their individual strengths and opportunities – help them understand what skills and experiences they bring to table that is different from their fellow board members and can help make your association that much stronger.

Photo credit: iStock.com/fangxianuo

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