People often assume that being a good nonprofit board member boils down to two basic capabilities: being a good fundraiser and being a good donor.
However, we know that being an outstanding nonprofit board member takes a whole lot more. As the world continues to be shaped and stimulated by the good work of nonprofit organizations, it’s important that board members embrace their full role in corporate governance.
They have the potential to help their organizations reach new levels of growth and impact.
Take Field Trips or Participate in Volunteer Events
First and foremost, board members should interact with their organization’s mission where it’s happening. Taking field visits is a great way to understand the nonprofit’s ultimate output. It also helps board members connect with their role in a more passionate way. Not to mention, these visits lead to enlightening questions from board members and an evaluative process to help the board strategize for an effective path forward.
Think Big When Putting Together Your Organization’s Strategy
Just as for-profit directors spend the majority of their time looking to the horizon for the future of their organization, so should nonprofit board members. This future-oriented strategic thinking could focus on many different phases or approaches: investing in technology, expanding the number of locations served, growing the organization’s staff size, and so forth.
Board members should consider the future of fundraising, yes, but it shouldn’t completely overshadow the individual elements that come together to form an impactful fundraising strategy.
Always Look to Improve
If your nonprofit board discovers a weakness in its organization, seek out a current or potential board member whose experience could make a difference. There is a developing trend among for profit boards to add specialists in fields like technology, marketing, and finance.
These individuals can provide in-depth knowledge and talents in areas that might make a major difference for the organization you serve.
Engage Your Fellow Board Members and Staff
Additionally, ensure that you’re interacting with your fellow board members and the executive level staff members in a deep and meaningful way. It’s easy to just show up for meetings, make a few decisions, and go on with your day.
Find some time for more personal interactions, so you can brainstorm possibilities in a setting that is less time-constrained. If you stumble onto something exciting, don’t be afraid to bring it to the larger group—you never know when a small idea could turn into a game-changing source of support for your organization.