Clearly it has been a tough time for all of us. In our personal and professional lives, everything is in flux. Yet, there is a group of people who, in the midst of all this, have worked through these difficult times and also chosen to put in even more time by volunteering as Board members. It’s time to check-in with your Board members.
Have I told you lately that I love you?
When is the last time you thanked your Board? You don’t have to send them all $200 gift baskets. When is the last time you started, or ended, a Board meeting with a sincere thank you? Where you said something like “I know that times are challenging and I personally am so grateful for your generosity in giving so much time to this cause. Thank you.
Should I stay or should I go?
Check in with all Board, no matter when their terms formally end. Every charity’s situation has changed dramatically since February. Many of our personal and professional situations have also changed. It is worth checking with each of your Board members if they can continue. You need to give them permission to go if they can’t devote time to your cause now. I have been saying to my fellow Board members - “the Board needs in February are not the same as today. If you feel this is no longer a fit for you, we completely understand.”
Ensure they have the tools
For those Board members staying, it is worth double checking your assumptions. Do they have everything they need to be effective as Board members? Do they have all the links to any online Board materials? Are you sending those links out pro-actively each Board meeting or being reactive? People are time-starved and overwhelmed, don’t make your B oard work harder.
Get out materials early
I work as staff so I understand how challenging it is to get materials out in time for Board. But now, more than ever, it is important to be sure to get Board materials out early. With parents homeschooling, spouses sharing computers, limited personal time, don’t make it even harder for your Board members to be engaged.
Guard their time
Time is short, especially now. In addition to getting materials out early, really think about how you use Board member’s time. From March-now, many of us brought Board members into all kinds of important operational discussions. Now that things have settled (a bit), it’s time to let them have more of their lives back. You don’t want to burn out Board members.
This is a complicated time for us all. Be extra kind to your Board members. After all, they are the people prepared to do the most for you as volunteers.
Ann Rosenfield is the Editor of Hilborn Charity eNews. She is a working fundraiser by day and is the Vice-Chair of Rainbow Railroad by night.
Cover photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova via Pexels