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The Who, What, and How to Onboarding your Board of Directors

team in training

The Who, What, and How to Onboarding your Board of Directors

Whether you are a well-established or an emerging nonprofit, your board of directors is a vital component of your organization’s success. Overseeing the organization’s strategic direction, managing the fiduciary obligations, and creating ethical, social, and legal governance; just a few responsibilities your board will handle. Each board member needs to fully understand and accept these commitments so that you avoid a non-participating individual. You know, the board members who are there to check a box and receive positive recognition. Now it’s time to rethink the way you onboard, and we’ve got you covered. Below are some best practices to consider when onboarding your team.

Board Agreements- Don’t let a non-participating board member take up valuable space on your board; set clear expectations with a written agreement signed by all individuals. Although these contracts are not legally binding agreements, they turn regular job duties into board and organization expectations, ensuring all parties understand their role. Board contracts address the following: common board failures, personal giving requirements, conflicts of interest, committee and meeting obligations, a confidentiality clause, liability protection, and a clear job description. If you don’t have a board agreement or need your current one reviewed, give me a call.

Board Member Orientation- All new staff goes through a formal onboarding; why shouldn’t your board? This process allows each member to familiarize themselves with the team, review current initiatives, relevant financial data, events calendar, and committee openings. If your building space permits, host orientation at your office, allowing the board members to meet the team. Be sure to provide board members with a “swag bag” with items such as a t-shirt, laptop sticker, and a coffee mug. Making your new colleagues feel welcome will go far as they advocate for your organization.

Be Efficient and Organized – Your new board member is graciously donating their time, so showing up disheveled and unorganized might leave them second-guessing their commitment. Arrive prepared with a “run of show” detailing the day and overall onboarding process. Keep meetings concise and information-filled, and say thank you often. Have a packet including contact information, the latest financial reports, past meeting minutes, or other noteworthy items.

By bringing on a new board, your organization has the opportunity to make a memorable first impression of the exciting future to come with your nonprofit. I know change is not always easy, but I’m here to support your nonprofit organization with guidance regarding board management, updated contracts, and Directors’ and officers’ insurance. Stay tuned for my next blog with a special guest interview.