Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Board

Just a few thoughts today on Board Members.  Elected by the members to oversee and lead a nonprofit organization. 

I have been a board member.   I was the Treasurer of the Volunteer Fire Department, I was on the Board of Evangelism at the Church.  A long time ago I was the Vice President and then President of the PTO. I even ran for School Board one time..I didn’t win..but it was still a good experience. I served on the County Sheriff’s Citizens Committee.

I was an active Board Member..I volunteered my time, I chaired projects, I went the extra mile.  I even helped sew (hard to imagine that I can sew..gasp) costumes for the Live Nativity one year.  When I felt that I had given my all..I moved on and let someone with new ideas and new enthusiasm have my position. A Board member should always do what is best for an organization. 

Some people are Board Members just so they can say they are. It must make them feel important.  Perhaps it is a feather in their cap..and when they preen in the mirror they like their own reflection. 

Everyone that serves on a Board should take a good look at themselves.  Have you been sitting in your chair so long that someone will have to start dusting you off?

Do you have 4 to 6 hours a month to volunteer? 8 to 12 hours would be even better.

Can you work well in a group?  Are you flexible?  Does everything have to be your way or no way?  Will you pound your fists on the table during a meeting..and say “If that’s the way it’s going to be I don’t want any part of it.”

Are you a good communicator?  Can you network? Can you hear, and if you cannot will you make arrangements to have someone accompany you that can.  Can you read?

What skills will you bring to the organization?

Can you motivate others?  Are you passionate about your membership within the non profit? 

Will you chair a project?  Will you serve on a committee?

Do you have what I will call “a forward thinking vision” ?  Where do you see the non profit in five years, ten years, twenty years?   Are you a mover and a shaker or are you content to just stay in the same place, shifting your weight from one foot to the other?  

If you don’t have what it takes to be a board member..then step aside and let someone else give it a whirl.

Just a few of my thoughts before the Annual Meeting next week where a few board members are up for reelection:)

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18 comments:

  1. I was a board member with our local cememtery. Usually, no one left the board until they died. All the board members worked to improve the cememtery, it was a very good board, with children replacing parents.

    During my eight years, from no money, I raised over 50,000 placed in CDs. My goal was to operate the cemetery mainly from the interest. Didn't quite get there but accomplished much while I was.

    It was not established as non profit. It was a local cemetery began by locals, maintained by locals and supported by locals.

    I was proud of our little board but I have seen many boards I would not be proud of, nor work with.

    May you get many new volunteers, and many wonderful working board members.

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  2. I was on the board of the US Parachute Association, representing my region. I felt that the person in the job was not representing my interests, so I ran and won. I served for four year. I learned that if you do your job well, someone will hate you. I don't have the stomach for it, and spent many a sleepless night. My hat is off to you for all you did on boards. Congratulations!

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  3. WOW! busy person. I dont get on boards of any kind due to to much conflict to many people are on them just to look and sound good. Have a wonderful day !

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  4. Some people strive to be on boards, in politics or wherever, for personal reasons, instead of community betterment. These type of persons need to resign, leaving communities a far better place to live in

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  5. Your post should be given to every prospective Board Member - maybe even worked into a 'test' or a checklist!
    We all know there are good Board members and the not-so-good and the not-so-good are often horrible!

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  6. Sounds like you think there is a umm... some "dead wood" on a certain board.

    I hope next year's board is full of energetic and spirited members.

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  7. Boy, do I know exactly what you mean. Your post should be circulated to every group that has a Board.

    Many of the members of the local School Board have been on so long (15 - 20 years for some of them) they really do need to be dusted off. Their children have loooong graduated, and they continue to run and get elected because their name is easily recognized. These individuals (four of them) dig in their feet and fight any progressive ideas. They have chased off more staff members than I can count. Thankfully, I was able to retire before things got really bad in the district.

    Oh yeah, I can relate.

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  8. I don't do board for the very reasons you stated. I like having a job I can just get on with on my own but dealing with people just isn't my thing......the Bossman on the other hand is a good board member;)

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  9. Wow, this is very thought provoking and well put!! My husband and I are and have been members of different boards, and we witness some that are only board members because they think it makes them look important!

    Very well said. Everyone thinking of becoming a board member or already is one, should read this!

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  10. Peter and I lead the nonprofit board for the carousel. We have attendance policies and we've thought about a written set of expectations. But he has the ability to call someone whose term is nearly up and say, "You've really been valuable but you haven't been involved for the last x years." Usually they say, "You're right; I should retire so you can elect some new blood." I don't suppose too many people can do that.

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  11. Woo Hoo! Preach it, Sister! You said it and you said it correctly! There is nothing more I can add other than, if you are going to commit, then commit and give it your best effort - - - which is what you said.

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  12. I'm on my way out. At 72 this is the last board I'm going to serve on. I still have two years of past president to do. I've enjoyed it but it's hard to get myself cranked up.
    It's why I retired from teaching, "I just couldn't do the job the way I wanted it done."

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  13. ...and helpful! Really helpful, physically helpful. (just adding to Intense Guys list of attributes of next year board members that we hope for you)

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  14. Wow! You really nailed it. I get so fed up with people who are on committees and boards just to fill up their resume.

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  15. I can only "brainstorm" for so long. I've noticed when I've sat on boards that some people really like to brainstorm and brainstorm and brainstorm. Sometimes I've had to be the one to say, "Margery (or Susan or Bob), we've finished brainstorming. We've moved on now."

    Margery or Bob sometimes looks quite hurt. "I'm an idea person," Margery or Bob sometimes replies with a smile and a little laugh.

    I always want to spill my beverage accidentally on purpose on Margery or Bob at that moment.

    "Idea person," my...kiester. Ideas are, of course, important. Some people excel at coming up with great ones. But it's the Margerys and Bobs that get up my nose with their endless brainstorming and DOING nothing.

    I've turned down a couple of offers to sit on boards this year. I needed a break. Maybe I still do!

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  16. I am a volunteer CASA. But there isn't much group to it at all. a Court Appointed Special Advocate chooses (or is asked to choose) a case. Children that are being removed from their parents or are involved with CPS in some way. Currently I have 5 children for whom I advocate in the court system. It involves hours of your own personal investigation and written reports for each court hearing. I didn't know it would be so difficult when I started taking the training three years ago.

    I wish more people would consider this. Every child needs a voice.

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie