In order to lead your nonprofit strategically and effectively, your board needs to have a clear understanding of its roles and responsibilities. More than that, though, your board needs to agree on how it wants to operate together, members need to feel engaged in the work, and when conflict arises, there need to be group norms for productively addressing it.
This is all easier said than done. If your board or nonprofit has new faces, is developing a strategic plan, needs help navigating through challenges, or is feeling caught in the weeds instead of on setting strategy, it’s probably a good time for board development. We engage with nonprofits as a mutual and trusted partner using a three-step approach: assessing where your board is currently at, coming to an agreement on where you need to be (and how you want to be together), and then establishing an action plan to move forward toward your mission, together.
We also can coach you on how to build your board with the right tools and processes, including the processes related to recruiting new board members.
Benefits & Outcomes of Board Development
- New skills and perspectives identified to inform your recruitment and carry out your strategic goals
- Better board engagement by clarifying board roles and responsibilities
- More generative (and even fun!) board meetings
- Stronger interpersonal relationships
- Governance structures, practices, and agreements that fit your values and vision
- A healthier board/executive director partnership
- Smoother leadership transitions
- Establish group norms and tools for moving past conflict
Ready to talk about how we can work with your organization? Reach out to Amanda Duhon to discuss how we can assist you.
Our 3-Step Board Development Process
1. Board Self-Assessment
A key responsibility of each governing board is to honestly assess its own performance to ensure that it is carrying out its responsibilities within a healthy climate that fosters open discussion, sound decision making, and respect for all members. Propel Nonprofits’ anonymous self-assessment allows all members to offer feedback, and in turn, helps start a conversation between your board and our consultants as we work together to create a board development plan. Propel will collect responses from your board assessment and present your board with a report of areas that stood out as places for improvement, strengths to build on, and priority areas.
2. Board Roles & Responsibilities
The clarity of roles and purpose can lead to better engagement. Our board development curriculum helps board members better understand their five key roles and responsibilities: 1) leading strategically; 2) ensuring financial stability; 3) serving as an ambassador; 4) supporting and supervising the executive director; and 5) ensuring healthy
governance. The emphasis here will be on the roles of board members given the organization’s current life stage.
3. Board Development Action Plan
Once you know where you are and what your board needs to be doing, how do you move past conflict, disengagement, or other barriers to get there? In this phase, we’ll work with you to develop both technical and adaptive tools to strengthen interpersonal dynamics, coach you for on-boarding or off-boarding, engage all the different skills and perspectives on your board, and work together better to lead your nonprofit.