All candidates for your organization’s board of directors should have the requisite time to spend with the new and developing not for profit in all sorts of capacities – board meetings, sub-committee meetings, volunteerism, facility management assistance and countless other roles in which NFP board members of today must engage. In today’s not for profit environment, organizations start with great speed and vanish just as quickly due to the lack of solid boards of directors who have a clear understanding of what their duties are. Some members of our respective communities love the concept of serving on a board, and the social connection which comes from being involved in an organization with people similar to them and their interests. The word which is overlooked most often in the last paragraph by new board members is “serving” – also known as service. Board members serve organizations, and their mission is to put their organization on the forefront of NFP organizations throughout the United States. Helping board members understand their time is crucial to the development of new, and existing NFPs.
New NFPs require individuals who have fresh concepts, opinions, and stances on the NFPs selected issue. This will, in turn, lead the new NFP to perform at high levels similar to that of a business which is producing new products or services in a crowded field of competitors. As a new NFP director or leader, it is your primary task to find individuals who are enthusiastic, focused, and committed to the cause your NFP seeks to promote. It is important in today’s NFP economic environment that selected board members are talented enough to conduct programs that provide experienced leadership to yourNFP staff. I liken the job of today’s NFP professional to that of the modern day NFL or NBA executive that shops, and searches the Earth for qualified talent for their teams in an effort to best compete against the best. NFP professionals who search for team talent will find their new NFP will ascend to prosperity sooner rather than later.
Though last on the list – this board member attribute is likely held as the most crucial of the “Three Tool Board Member." The novice NFP talent scout often searches out the board member who fulfills this trait but lacks in the other two. Though all board members should possess, or be able to contribute financially to the operation of the NFP, the board member who is creative, while meeting their agreed-upon yearly financial contributions, is more valuable in the long run to the growth of a new NFP. If you have not thought about going after the “biggest fish” in your local ocean, then you are limiting your full potential. The advantageous move is to search for board members who can not only contribute towards organizational operations financially, but also members who can promote your organization’s concepts to other external individuals. Board members who can represent your NFP’s financial interests in their workplace, within the general community, and with potential funders can make a large difference in your new NFP reaching its organizational and program budgets each year.
Preparing Your Board For Great Work
Teaching Your Board Time, Talent, & Treasure
For you community leaders who are just starting out with your new, not for profit organization, I am certain you are excited to get out there and help people in need. You are especially excited and ready to work if your IRS Letter of Determination recently arrived making you fully qualified as a registered not for profit organization. There is one factor though which can kill the enthusiasm of the most qualified not for profit professional – a terrible board of directors. Instead of starting off your new organization behind the proverbial 8-ball, work beforehand to make certain any board member you select, for service following the interview process, has a clear vision of their job. Putting your group of 10-20 possible board members through a two-hour educational session on the concepts of Time, Talent, and Treasure, along with a session on Team Building (which will be discussed in a subsequent posting) can make a real difference in how effective your board can be in assisting you. It will also assist your staff, in implementing the real change necessary to solve a pressing community issue for which your organization was created.
Rod Haywood, J.D. is President of Rod Haywood Enterprises, Inc. (http://www.thenotforprofitguru.com). A business service provider of educational experiences for not for profit professionals who desire to build successful 501c3 organizations through the utilization of solid business practices and self-reliance fundraising practices.