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Monday, December 18, 2017

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Why Do Board Members Say Yes?
Karen Eber Davis

April, 2015

Why do people join your board? They believe in the distinctive way you fulfill your mission. That's the answer you want. It's rarely that simple. People are complex. Lives are hectic, busy, and packed with opportunities. People agree because they imagine making fresh progress on numerous goals. I asked this question at a recent session at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. The attendees generated the following expanded list:

 

Besides believing in your distinct approach to fulfilling your mission, they join because they:

  • Believe they can help.
  • Have a personal connection to the cause.
  • Experience a call to serve.
They say yes to use:
  • Skills.
  • Connections.

And, they agree to grow their:

  • Skills. 
  • Connections. 
  • Résumé. 

From their board leadership experience, they expect:

  • Social.
  • Fun. 
  • Perks, such as travel and behind-the-scenes tours.

Why don't you ask your board members to discover their reasons? Don't ask just one question, though. No single question could give you a wide-lens view. Ask: why else did you agree? Anything else you plan to accomplish? What else? You'll discover expectations. You'll learn more about people and the value that board members receive. You'll encounter patterns behind why people join.

 

Why is it important to inventory the reasons? Many of them will be easy to fulfill. Your reward for fulfilling them will be more effective and dedicated leadership. Long-term, the inventory will make recruitment easier, turnover smaller, and referrals more plentiful. You'll be able to share with newcomers the rewards other board members gained. Discover why your board members said yes. Fire up ways to help them. In turn, they'll lead you to your goals.

 

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