“Boards are like parents: they need to support, encourage, and inspire greatness in their ‘child’ if the organization is to survive and thrive.” (Lysakowski, 2004)
In reviewing the study from Association of Fundraising Professional (AFP), Linda Lysakowski lays out the elements that create an effective nonprofit board. This report is an easy reference for any person, who is interested in nonprofit development, on how to create and develop a board that will have the maximum impact for your organization. The main sections of the AFP report are 1) Board demographics/performance, 2) Identifying and recruiting board members, 3) Involving the board in fundraising, and 4) building a better ...view middle of the document...
The AFP report also points out that one should not invite someone to the board just because of their race, age, gender, etc, and the decision to invite should be based on their fit with the organization.
Identifying and Recruiting
Now we understand the benefits of having a diverse board, it is now the current board’s responsibility to identify and recruit new board members. The current board should setup a “governance committee” or “committee of directorship”. This governance committee should do the following things: meet year round, evaluate the board’s needs and develop profiles for new board members, develop and refine board member’s job descriptions, encourage ongoing education of the board via retreats, and evaluate the board’s performance as a group and as individual members. Organizations have transformed weak boards into effective boards over time by recruiting skilled committee members. Recruited board members bring different resources to the organization such as experience, external relationships and fundraising options.
In the AFP report, the appendix has several useful documents that can help an organization with the assessment for the strengths and weaknesses of their current board members. A strong board committee is a valuable tool for developing leadership within the organization.
Board Involvement in Fundraising
The board is the biggest resource for an organization in regard to their fundraising aspect. We can see in the previous sections that board members have an external expertise, connections and experience, which an organization can leverage. It’s important for the board to setup a development committee in order to establish long-range and annual giving plans. The development committee should work with appropriate staff to develop a long-range and short-range development plan, help plan all fundraising activities, identify and recruit leadership and volunteers for development, attend fundraising events, encourage involvement from other board members, contribute financially to the organization, and ensure other board members contribute (time and/or money) to development projects.
The report outlines a new ethos...