In many circles of people who work on board development, the idea of a dysfunctional non-profit board is often considered a redundancy. When we asset map boards to determine current rates of talent engagement, it is typically abysmal. Boards often have at best awkward to tentative relationships with the rest of the organization. I would argue that boards are still trying to operate from very outdated models that were actually designed more for control engagement.
Here are 3 possible strategies for taking board engagement to new levels.
A Core Team
The most vital is creating a core team of board members who rotate on some regular and overlapping basis. This team prioritizes and incubates new projects and invites other board members to participate on them. People sprint in time and deliverable specific projects rather than stagnate in standing committees.
A Resource Network
We create an ever expanding network of people with the kinds of experience, expertise, knowledge, talents and connections that can help projects succeed. Project teams draw from this network locally and virtually. People in the network can also opt in to being donors and fundraising participants. The Core Team approves and manages new board members for the network.
A Virtual Collaboration Space
This is the space where the Core Team maintains a dashboard of all upcoming, active and successful projects. Project teams replace email and do all of their project organizing and communications in this space. All board members post an updated profile of their relevant personal assets for projects.
When decisions need to be made, each is formed as a project and people most knowledgable and interested can contribute to these decisions. When voting by all board members is required, a virtual poll is used to facilitate the process. The organization's executive team has view access to the board's Virtual Collaboration Space so transparency and alignment is optimal and continuous.
Just these three simple and unique strategies has the power to transform board engagement in ways that supports the growth of non-profit organizations as never before. This is crucial for organizations who seek innovation and new ways to impact the complex and emerging opportunities of their communities.