No one wants to admit it, but it’s happened to all of us. We’ve found ourselves looking at a room full of talented, dedicated volunteers with their eyes glazed over and yawning. You try to ignore the elephant standing there in the nonprofit meeting room, but let’s face it – your board members are finding your board meetings boring!
Just because your board members aren’t engaged in your meetings doesn’t mean that they aren’t committed to your mission. Often it means that the format of your meetings needs some tweaking. Whether your board meets monthly or quarterly, if you can get board members to be fully present at meetings you’ll have better results.
So how do you go from borderline snooze fests to edge-of-your-seat meeting excitement? Here are a few tips to liven up your meetings:
Use a consent agenda for routine items. Quick approval on simple items will simplify your meetings and allow board members to save the discussions for important items.
Provide information to board members in advance to allow them to ponder the issues ahead of time and come to meetings ready for discussions.
Consider dividing your board into small groups for discussion. This will allow quieter board members to voice their ideas without being overshadowed.
Use an outside facilitator from time to time at meetings. This will allow an exciting fresh perspective that may encourage involvement at board meetings.
Ensure that the board chair encourages all board members to express their feelings, even when their ideas rock the boat.
Think outside the box when it comes to your meetings. Board members don’t want to be bored. They want to be fully engaged at meetings and motivated to further your mission.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yolanda brings international experience to Lighthouse Counsel where she served as the Development Director of Queen’s College, and most recently as the Executive Director for Hands For Hunger in Nassau, Bahamas. She is active with her church, Bahamas Harvest Church, and co-leads an organization focused on teaching leadership, providing mentors and promoting high self-esteem in girls of color.