Recruit and Retain a Strong Nonprofit Board of Directors in 2014

As it is a new year and many of us are re-assessing our lives as they are now and how we would like them to be, I think it is a fitting time to take a look at your nonprofit board of directors.  Are you all working from the same mindset?  Does everyone know the values, mission and vision of the organization and are making decisions based on these important factors?  Since the board helps to set the tone of a nonprofit’s culture, I am re-publishing, with some updates, this and the next 4 blog posts to help you ensure that you are recruiting and retaining a strong nonprofit board of directors.

Creating and sustaining a solid board of directors for your nonprofit is a significant task.  Many boards have failed to take particular steps that would help to ensure a strong, collaborative and working board to benefit the nonprofit organization that they lead.  Here are some tasks that can be completed to guide you and your board to success!

Preparing for the creation of your board or for supplementing your board, no matter what stage your board and organization are at, is a key ingredient for success.  As Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  Taking these steps can help provide your nonprofit board with such benefits as motivated and engaged board members, collaboration among your board and the executive director as well as continued growth toward your vision in the years to come.

When creating or sustaining your board, it is important to first Assess, then Plan, followed by some Training and finally continuous Management of the work and efforts that you have put in place.  These steps can be reviewed in the below graphic:

I will take the next four weeks to discuss each of these four steps in more detail.   It’s always a great time to review these steps to determine if your board is in need of a change.  If so, you can use these steps to begin to alter and rebuild the strength of your board.  You may find that it is time to focus on only one area of these steps.  For example, have you taken the first two steps of Assessing and Planning, but then got stuck on Training?  It’s not too late.  Take some time to decide what knowledge or skills your board is in need of.  Then organize a training for them to gain the needed knowledge or skills.

In two weeks, we’ll begin by determining where your board is at and what are your current needs. I look forward to spending more time with you on these critical aspects of Board Recruitment and Retention!


Photo credit to: Microsoft Office Clip Art

Jeanne Ward is a Consultant and Personal Strategist who brings her knowledge of psychology, strategy and personal fulfillment to her current work. Jeanne started her career by helping mentally ill inmates to ‘get their lives back on track’ as they integrated back into society from jail in NYC. She leveraged this experience with a Social Work degree to manage teams who were supporting people trying to move back into the workforce. She later lived in Atlanta, GA and Frankfurt, Germany where she began consulting with nonprofit organizations to guide them on their strategy, volunteer development, and organizational development as well as to support the development of their leaders and board of directors. After the jolt of a divorce, Jeanne found herself doing a lot of soul-searching. Digging deep, she arrived at a new-found appreciation for herself and the world around her. This journey taught her that when we start with improving ourselves, the benefits multiply. Jeanne realized that her strengths of strategic thinking, relationship building, and implementation planning could be combined into her ongoing passion of personal leadership. Hence, her personal strategy work was born. Jeanne helps men and women between the ages of 35 and 55 who are fed up with their corporate jobs to create fulfilling professional and personal lives through the development of a personal strategic plan. This work ensures that her clients identify their professional and personal goals as well as create a plan to make those goals a reality. Jeanne is also the Executive Director of the Atlanta Road Trotters Kid’s Running Club, a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for children to build a foundation of running health and fitness which leads to a better connection to the organized running community as well as a strong foundation of Discipline, Self-Esteem, Respect and Team Work. She has also co-authored a workbook on networking, founded and organized the National Association of Social Workers-Georgia-sponsored ‘Social Service Career Network’ and organized a summit for the National Alliance for Mentally Ill attended by over 100 organizations from 6 Atlanta counties. Previously, she sat on the board of NASW GA as their Secretary as well as on the board of NAMI GA/DeKalb as their Co-President, was a senior consultant for the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and helped to run a capital campaign for an independent school. Jeanne has an MSW from Hunter School of Social Work (City University of New York), an MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York) and a BA in Psychology from Emory University. Jeanne lives in Atlanta with her ten-year-old son.

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