Success In Non-Profit

Objectives for a Nonprofit’s Board of Directors

  • Identify core values of the organization and its Board members
  • Clarify the agency’s story
  • Develop Board membership requirements
  • Design action plan for Board recruitment

Why Join A Boring Board?

An affluent community near Seattle is home to a dynamic, fast-growing community service agency that rivals a private club. However, even though many community leaders are members of the organization, the Board of Directors was having difficulty recruiting and retaining directors committed to their role and responsibilities. Board membership stood at 7, less than half the 18 needed, attendance at monthly meetings and periodic retreats was low, and assigned responsibilities were not being carried out.

Evelyn Clark was hired to facilitate two consecutive quarterly retreats structured around the Corporate Storytelling system. The goals of the retreats were Board teambuilding, clarifying the organization’s core story, developing and implementing a plan for Board membership development, and developing and implementing a one- year strategic plan for continued growth. Shared storytelling at the first retreat in the Fall drew the directors closer together and deepened the commitment of the small group in attendance (only 3 board members and 3 staff). These six people developed a focused plan for identifying prospective Board members based on organizational values and needs and set goals for building the Board up to a full membership of 18 directors committed to the agency’s mission.

The Board President, the Executive Director, and others in attendance were excited about what they had accomplished in a few hours. They also were invigorated by the clarity they had achieved on how to reach their goals as well as the opportunities they envisioned for growth.

Four months later, at the Winter retreat, the Board had grown to 12 members and all but one were present, the absent member having been called away on a business trip. The participants reviewed the qualities of Board members still needed, identified prospective members to recruit, and set a timeline for accomplishing the goal of full Board membership. They also:

  • Affirmed the organization’s values as expressed in the mission statement
  • Clearly identified the unique marketing proposition of the agency
  • Completed an action plan for achieving each of their annual goals, with responsibilities assigned to appropriate Board members

The Board members and staff in attendance were excited about the clarity they had gained, the expanded Board membership, and the renewed energy for activating the agency’s vision.