16 Mar

7 Tips for Board Meeting Optimization

Board meetings sometimes should be called “bored meetings”. Some executives and leaders just check-off preparing for and hosting board meetings like another to do on a long list. And it shows.

Others understand these regularly scheduled occasions are an opportunity to educate, engage and energize your best ambassadors, volunteers and often donors – your board members.  Strong board meetings can help with volunteer participation, retention, leadership development and attracting new board members who hear the positive “buzz”.

7 Tips for Board Meeting Optimization

1.  Include time for relationship building in every board meeting. This can mean dinner before hand, drinks after or ice breakers that are built-in.

2. Make sure the agenda presents governance issues for discussion and clearly denotes what requires a vote

3. Adopt a board forward agenda. Send out a written report ahead of timeThis allows for reporting on past and current events to be kept to a minimum except for updates on measurable progress against goals and flagging issues of concern.The focus at the meeting should always be on the future.

4. Add a teaching/learning element to board meetings. Bring in outside speakers, share relevant data and research,  or offer training to build a skill.

5. Intentionally draw people into the conversation and encourage broad participation with skilled facilitation and techniques.

6. Make participation by video available for every meeting, if possible.

7. End every meeting with action items.

Invest in board meetings because it makes them a lot more enjoyable and because board members will invest more of themselves if you do!

Nanette Fridman, MPP, JD, is President of Fridman Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, financial resource development, governance and leadership coaching for nonprofits. She is the author of “On Board: What Current and Aspiring Board Members Must Know About Nonprofits & Board Service.”


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