Everybody keeps asking us how they can get their board members motivated. We recently put the question to Randle Lee, our Board Development and Fundraising Specialist. He said that getting your board members motivated and inspired to raise more money starts with recruitment. Having the right people on your board is half of the battle. Then, you can start looking at how to engage each of your board members individually. Here are his top tips to motivate and recruit board members.
Find Board Members Who Connect with Your Cause
There are a lot of factors to consider when you are recruiting board members for your non-profit. The most crucial factor is whether or not the prospective board member is connected to your cause. You want board members who are passionate about the cause because they will be more engaged in your work and motivated by the mission.
Board members who are passionate about your work are more likely to contribute actively. For example, they will volunteer their knowledge and skillset or suggest solutions to obstacles your non-profit faces. They want your non-profit to succeed because they are passionate about the cause.
Create a Board Matrix
A board matrix can help you to determine the criteria for selecting your board members. The goal is to create a matrix that will help you to make choices that not only further your non-profit’s goals but further the environment you want to create. Consider the following factors when creating your non-profit board matrix:
There are no right or wrong answers because every non-profit needs different things from its board members. Sit down with your current board members and create your board matrix.
Curate Your Board Size
Board size can be an essential factor in how effective and motivated your non-profit board is. When boards are too small, you may find that one or a few board members end up dominating the meeting. On the other hand, if your board is too large, engaging board members can be challenging.
We suggest that boards are at their most effective between 13 and 15 members. This is because it provides the right balance between having a diverse range of skills and experience while being manageable.
In addition, he recommends creating term limits to prevent a single board member or a group of board members from overruling the board. When there are people who have been on the board for that long, it can create a situation where they feel protective over the way things have always been or a hierarchy is created due to the length of the term.
New members bring in fresh ideas and new resources (especially skills and networks) and should be given an equal voice. In addition, new members are incredibly motivating because they inject new passion into the non-profit. It also means your non-profit will grow because things are being done differently.
Communicate the Right Message to Motivate
Each of your board members has different motivations and communication styles. What gets one board member motivated (or you inspired) may not work for another board member. You need to communicate the right message in the right way to motivate your board members.
For example, some of your board members may be thinkers, and others may be doers. A thinker needs a lot of information even to consider a decision. They also need a little time to think about the situation before deciding.
A doer, on the other hand, is ready to spring into action. They don’t want to get bogged down in the finer details; they just want to get started. Both of these personality types will need different messages and ways of communication to become motivated.
Randle Lee joined Jason Ledlow and Trevor Nelson to discuss how to recruit and motivate board members in depth on our free webinar for non-profits. Listen to more examples and advice on Episode 98 of the HGAFundraising webinar below.
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