3 Steps to an Effective Board Orientation

There have been many articles written on the on-boarding process for new board members - just Google it!

The following three steps can help ensure your next board orientation is a success.

  • Official Board Orientation Meeting
  • Official Board Orientation Book
  • Official Board Role and Program Review

Official Board Orientation Meeting

It's important to have a formal meeting to get the attention of your new board members. It has been suggested to hold it prior to their first official board meeting.  You might want to have your board chair and any other key board members attend too.

Official Board Orientation Book

I think it's important to have a collateral piece that you review in your orientation meeting and something they can take back to the office.  I would suggest you spend some time on creating a professional document that outlines the expectations of board members.  It should be more than just a board member job description.

Official Board Role and Program Review

It's important to review the fiduciary responsibility of the board as well as your current committee structure.  It's also important that they understand the role of the board vs the role of staff.

While I don't suggest you get in the weeds with all the programmatic aspects of your chamber you should identify, at the 30 thousand foot level, your membership trends, advocacy, leadership program, annual meeting, and Foundation work, if you have one.

Set the expectations up front, deliver a great board orientation and your board members will be thankful.

For a great resource on nonprofit boards from The Bridgespan Group go HERE.

3 Steps to Take Before You Sit Down with Your Board to Create a Strategic Plan

The more you prep for your next strategic planning process the better your outcomes will be.

How often do you conduct a strategic planning session or retreat?  How often do you review your strategic plan?

Every year, every other year or once every three years?

Whatever your timeline is, it's important that you do your homework prior to your next retreat.

Here's three things you can do before your next planning session:

  • Background materials
  • Communicate the process
  • Set the stage

Background Materials

Tell the story of your chamber, where you’ve been, where you are now and that will set the stage for where the chamber should go.  Key items to share from a historical perspective should include, but not limited to:

  • Revenue - dues vs. non-dues
  • Membership numbers - retention rates, etc.
  • Program of work - advocacy, economic development, networking, educational programs, etc.

And don't forget to attach real numbers to the above items.  For a previous blog post on program based budgeting go HERE.

Communicate the Process

It's important to be transparent in your strategic planning process.  Get everybody on the same page.  When people know what is expected of them, they will deliver.  Key elements that should be communicated:

  • Timing – set a timetable from beginning to end
  • Outcomes – set the expectation of what you want when you’re done with the process
  • Players - who's responsible and why

Set the Stage

I'm a fan of getting a third party facilitator to run the actual strategic planning meeting. They can keep people focused on the task and it keeps the process business like and not personal.

For a great resource on nonprofit boards from The Bridgespan Group go HERE.