Today’s question comes from Kendyl. She explains that her new incoming board chair has “AGREED” to allow her to have a portion of every monthly board meeting to train their board members. Her question:
How much time should I allow to do training every month and where do I begin? I am concerned they might only give me 15 minutes!
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Kendyl, you’re off to a great start! I would push for 20 to 30 minutes, but 15 is certainly better than nothing. As your board members discover that your fundraising discussions are productive, engaging and meaningful, I’m confident that they will give you more and more time as the year progresses.
2 Steps to Successful Board Training
Remember, the key to successful board training is to have a combination of:
- interactive activities
It’s not about lecturing at people.
1. Pose open-ended discussion questions.
One way to think about how to use your time in the monthly board meeting is to pose good, open-ended discussion questions. This will help engage your board members in the conversation.
Let me give you an example…
Think about a time you have been treated well as a donor. What did the charity do to make you feel good? Then consider: “How do we treat our donors and what should we be doing to treat them better?”
2. Create a calendar of interactive activities.
The next step is all about engaging your board with interactive activities.
This Week’s Task
Create a calendar of activities and discussions you want to have for each meeting.
For example, in April you could focus on how to build relationships with your donors. Have board members come up with a list of ways they would be able to help — such as give a tour, or invite a colleague for coffee with the executive director. Then, have each board member to commit to two activities from the list.
Of course, your calendar isn’t set in stone, but will serve as a guide for the year — and then if you need to change something mid-stream, you can.
More Great Board Training Ideas
The example used in step 1 above comes from one of my favorite nonprofit books, Train Your Board (and Everyone Else) To Raise Money by Andrea Kihlstedt and Andy Robinson. It’s chock-full of exercises and activities to use with your board members — either at a board retreat or one at a time at a board meeting. I highly recommend it!
For other ideas, you might want to ask your board president and other board members, what topics they would be most interested in discussing. This will help you come up with great topic discussions
I hope that answers your question, Kendyl!
What’s your favorite board training activity? Don’t be shy — share it with everyone in the comments.
This post is part of my Year of the Fundraising Board series. Check out the entire series to learn how to create a stronger, smarter, and super motivated nonprofit board.