Board Portal Best Practices: Term Limits
By Dustin McKissen, March 02, 2018
For your organization to thrive, your board of directors needs a
consistent infusion of fresh ideas and new perspectives. And while turnover on
your board can be disruptive in the short run, your long-run success depends on
having a dynamic, engaged board that is willing to try new and innovative ideas.
That’s why your organization should have term limits for your
board of directors.
However, while term limits are a best practice, they come at a
cost. Board transition comes with a temporary loss of institutional knowledge,
along with the risk of a board that wants a sudden change in strategic
But implementing term limits is a risk your organization should
be willing to take, and the good news is that you can minimize those risks by
implementing a few simple best practices:
1. Engage in succession planning at the board
While succession planning is often discussed at the staff level,
it’s just as important to identify and develop future officers and directors.
Ideally, new directors should have some exposure to your organization prior to
joining the board. Asking volunteers to serve on a committee prior to serving
at the board level is a good place to start.
Serving on a committee is a great way for volunteers to learn how
to lead with influence, understand how decisions are made via consensus, and
demonstrate their commitment to serving in a volunteer role that comes with
specific duties and requires regular meeting attendance.
Committee are a good place for your officers and staff leadership
to identify the next generation of board leadership.
2. Make sure you have an accurate record of
board meetings and decisions.
Accurate minutes give new directors a source of
information that shows when and how certain decisions were made. In other
words, minutes give your organization’s current strategy more context. Knowing
when a decision was made and who made that decision helps give new directors
clarity and insight.
Serving on a board of directors can be like drinking from a
firehose, but too often new directors have no idea who made the decision to
point the firehose at their face, and when they made that decision. Minutes and
meeting documentation can help new directors better understand what is
happening in an organization, and why.
3. Always conduct an orientation for new
You should always, always conduct a face-to-face (if possible)
orientation for new board members. That orientation should include a review of
your organization’s strategic plan, review of a staff and volunteer org chart,
a review of your organization’s conflict-of-interest policy, a review
of the job description and attendance expectations of directors, a review of
the organization bylaws, and training on how to use your organization’s board
Even if a new director is already familiar with your organization
through service on a committee or some other form of volunteering, it’s still
important to conduct an orientation. Without an orientation, new directors can
feel lost and uninformed. Eventually an uninformed board member becomes a
disengaged, ineffective board member, and the disengagement of one board member
can quickly spread to other directors.
That’s why BoardPaq has designed a board portal with features that
make the transition for new board members as easy and convenient as possible,
- Minutes Builder,
a feature that allows you to keep track of attendance, minutes, resolutions,
assignments, and votes during your meetings. Giving your new directors access
to recent meeting minutes will give them a better understanding of current
Analysis, a collaborative tool
that helps board members and other participating stakeholders assess the
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing your organization.
Even if the SWOT analysis was conducted prior to a new director joining your
board, the written summary can still be available.
- Forms, a new
feature that can help your organization create conflict-of-interest
disclosures, job descriptions, and other documents new directors need to
receive prior to attending their first official board of directors meeting.
These features and more are available in BoardPaq’s Admin Center. That’s why more than
1,000 school districts, trade associations, nonprofits, rural cooperatives,
community banks, credit unions, economic development agencies, and other
board-led organizations use BoardPaq to increase director engagement and run
efficient, paperless board and committee meetings.
Interested in learning more about the board portal of choice for
Sign up for a demo today!