BoardPaq Webinar - Creating an Engaged Board
7 Strategies to Create an Engaged Board

By BoardPaq, October 23, 2017

Advice from: Thomas Bakewell & Carol Weisman



1.   Choose the right board members


When obtaining new board members there are a couple of key items you need to remember. Make sure that you are searching for the skills to align recruiting with strategy for your board.


   Assess the skills in your current board room and determine what is needed.

   You need to know the difference between a board member and a volunteer.

   Diversity is everything! Not just diverse race or gender, but also diverse experiences.


 2. Clarify Expectations


Make sure your new board member knows the expectations and commitment of the position before he or she starts. A great way to prepare for this is by creating a board commitment letter that covers the following issues:


   Attendance Policy

   Financial Expectations (donations, membership, compensation, meals, travel, etc.)

   Role in special events and/or annual meetings

   Educational opportunities and expectations

   Board Terms and Conflicts of Interest


Once the board commitment letter is finalized, be sure to send 2 copies, one to the board member and one to the office to keep on record.


 3. Be a “Learning Organization”


Every Board of Directors is different, therefore, if you gain an experienced board member, they still might not know the exact way that you like to run your board meetings. That is why it is always important to welcome a new board member with a powerful orientation that includes:


   A warm welcome from all of the active Board Members

   Tell a story about your board and have a “Mission Moment”, so they can be inspired

   Have good food or snacks to share

   Be sure to show interest in getting to know the new board member

   Have an introduction to key leaders and a glossary of board terms


The purpose of a grand orientation like this is so that all members, new and old, can get to know one another and discover how to work effectively together with their role responsibilities. It is also extremely important that every board member understands their mission because in the end “you can't sell what you don't know”.


Bring your board to your mission, or your mission to your board every meeting.


 4. Listen to how your board members can be effectively engaged


To keep your board members effectively engaged, you should ask them questions on their previous board experience. As mentioned before, every Board of Directors runs their organization differently, so it is important to find out what worked in the past and what didn't work. Start by asking your board the questions below and see what you discover:


   What boards have you served on?

   What did you like about your previous service?

   What did you dislike about your previous service?

   What experience do you have with our mission?

   Tell us about your time challenges and availability.

   What skills would you like to share with our organization?

   Are you a part of any other organizations that you might have an influence on?


 5. Recognize and Reward great work in governance


Great work in Governance can be recognized with something as little as a thank you. If your board members feel appreciated for all their hard work, then they will ultimately stay loyal and keep working hard for that organization. Some other ways to say “thank you” to your board members are:


   On their birthday, celebrate with lunch or a sweet treat

   For life events, like having children or getting married, throw a small party or purchase a gift to show your support

   Send a board member a nice email or letter to say thank you for all their hard work


Also, when someone misses a meeting and doesn't let you know about it, be kind when checking up on them. Like stated before, you never know what is going on in someones life… but at the same time, it is not acceptable to consistently miss board meetings.


 6. Conduct robust discussion in your board and committee meetings


Bringing on new board members allows your Board of Directors to grow and evolve as the world changes. A great tip to follow when bringing on new members is to have them ratify decisions you've already made, which further challenges your board members to speak openly and help resolve conflict. A couple other ways to gather diverse responses are:


   Have the meeting chairman ask the shy members their thoughts, since sometimes it might be hard for them to get a word in over louder individuals.

   Your board should know each other well enough to weigh the insight of the trustee.

   Also, Faith based organizations might want to take time for prayer or reflection.


 7. Use your board member’s time effectively


Don’t make assumptions. We all assume that people have the same time challenges as we do, when in fact, we don’t. Some board members might have seasonal demands, family challenges, illnesses, vacations planned or even religious holidays. Ask your board members their time availability beforehand, so it never has to become an issue.


It is also a good idea to have updated contact information and the best way to reach each board member. (i.e. Call, Text, Email, Mail)



Need a platform to help implement these 7 Strategies?


Try BoardPaq. The Board Portal of choice for over 1,060 organizations across the world and one more way to keep your board engaged!


With BoardPaq, you have access to features like Enhanced Discussions, SWOT Analysis, Dynamic Forms Builder, Doc Approval, Member Directory and much more! Plus, it is a secure place to store all of your important documents.


If you're interested in trying BoardPaq, Schedule a demo to start your FREE 15 day trial today!



For more information, Contact us!


Tom Bakewell   |   (314) 960 - 2326   |


Carol Weisman   |   (314) 863 - 4422   |


BoardPaq   |   (314) 669 4745   |

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BoardPaq is an affordable, easy-to-use, secure portal on iPad, Windows and Web devices for planning, running and managing paperless board, leadership and committee meetings. BoardPaq's board portal solution is used in small-medium enterprises including for-profit, nonprofit, education and government organizations.
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