Time-Compressed Non Profit Board members – Recruit & Retain Them!
By: Eugene Fram
Every nonprofit board has had the experience of having board positions open and being unable to fill them with highly qualified people. The usual response from qualified candidates is that they are too busy to be accept a board position. However, the real reasons, never voiced, if speaking privately, are that they perceive the nonprofit decision process to be too slow, board agendas loaded with minutiae, presentations that take up more time than they should, unfocused discussion, etc.
Following is a list of “selling points” to potential board candidates, providing a board can deliver on them!
• We are careful to make wise use of your valuable time.
• Board meetings will begin and end of time, a quorum will be present at the beginning of the meeting.
• Board meeting material will be sent a week ahead of time.
• The agenda also will be sent out a week ahead of time.
• If one misses a meeting, the minutes will be available within a week afterwards.
• If one is going to be traveling, we have the facility for directors to attend virtually.
• Divisional staff reports will each have a time limit and be well prepared in advance, so the agenda can be completed as scheduled. The CEO works with each presenter ahead of time to assure well developed presentations.
• The board chair has the responsibility to quickly refocus discussions if they get off track into the weeds.
• Visual presentations will be limited to 10 visuals.
• Policy and strategic topics will be the major foci of the meetings, not operating minutiae. We view our responsibility to overview, not micromanage.
• Board committee work will be aligned with the candidate’s interests and backgrounds. Committee chairs will understand board members’ time constraints.
• The board chair and/or CEO will meet with each board members several times a year to make sure the director perceives the board experiences are in line with the above guidelines and to seek suggestions for board improvements.