Empowering Board Members to Show Up – 8 Simple Steps

I don’t know about you, but lately I have been hearing a lot of:

“I don’t know if we will have quorum at the Board meeting.”
“No one RSVPd for the Board meeting, so we don’t know who will show up.”
“Why don’t Board members show up at our Board meetings?”
“Isn’t this the second, third, fourth Board meeting that person has missed?”

This is a partnership. We all have responsibility to the organization, people and community we serve. Here are some suggestions to empower your Board to show up! (Next week: Talking with  Board members about expectations!)

  1. Create a calendar of Board meetings in advance
  2. Email materials 10 days prior to the Board meeting – Use Constant Contact or another email program that allows you to track receipt, opens, clicks to materials
    • Post materials through Google Docs or a secure place on your website they can access
    • Offer those materials necessary for the discussion at the Board meeting
  3. Require a RSVP or let them know you will expect them unless you hear from them by a certain date
    • There is a difference between excused and unexcused absences
  4. Call every Board member two – three days before the Board meeting with the following messages – Director of Development, Executive Director or Board Chair should do this
    • Remind them about the Board meeting, date, time and location
    • Looking forward to seeing them
    • Be sure they received and reviewed the materials
    • If they are on the agenda – are they prepared or need any assistance
    • Note all comments in your database so there is record for the Board and organization
  5. At the Board meeting report on absences as a part of the minutes
  6. After the Board meeting follow up by phone and in person with
    • Those who did not show up (unexcused)
    • Those who were unable to attend
  7. Send Board meeting minutes within seven to ten days of the Board meeting
    • Note action items, deadlines
    • Follow up, follow up, follow up
    • If it’s not important to staff, it’s not important to the Board
  8. Start over…..

Check out my website for Board resources you can use. They will be available until June 16th!  Leave a comment and I will email you a free copy the Talisman Tool Box: Empowering Your Board to Fundraise.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

6 thoughts on “Empowering Board Members to Show Up – 8 Simple Steps

  1. Thank you for this very helpful list of resources!

    I would add: Make the board serve on the fundraising committee before being able to come on the board.
    It makes it exclusive, which increases the likelihood that they’ll show up, because they’ve put more effort into it, AND it shows them that this is why they are here, and hopefully gives them the momentum and experience to keep fundraising after they get on the board.


    1. Mazarine (You wild woman you!)
      Thanks for commenting! I agree, although I would broaden it to include committee service in general. Test em out…see if it works. In many cases where it is a small Board….no need for a development committee…just an excuse to point fingers at someone else and ask, “How’s the fundraising going?” when it is the responsibility of the entire Board.
      Thanks again. Talisman Tool Box on its way!

  2. Hi Barbara,

    This is a great post with good sound advice for turning around poor board attendance. I firmly believe having and publishing in advance an agenda – not just a generic one – but with topics that will get the attention of Board members to let them know that important business is on the agenda – is also a key ingredient.


    1. Marion,
      Thanks so much. Great suggestion. I always suggest a topic for discussion, real discussion about the org, planning or advice on an issue. Send info in advance if required. This will give meetings purpose and a scheduled opportunity for all to participate. But as you said, needs to be planned in advance.
      Thanks again for commenting! Talisman Tool Box on it’s way!

  3. Thanks for the very practical suggestions. I especially like the communication suggestions and the idea of cultivating board members as opposed to assuming that they are “on board” because they are already serving.as leaders of the organization.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.