Yesterday’s panel discussion on best Board practices explored some interesting ideas around Board engagement and fundraising. We will continue the discussion through upcoming blog postings.
A few tips for making Board meetings more effective were mentioned yesterday, and as a reminder:
- The most important items should be first on the agenda, allowing sufficient time for strategic discussions.
- Group routine items under one umbrella that can be approved without discussion, unless a Board member requests an item be discussed. This is the consent agenda. Typical items include the minutes from the previous Board meeting, the Board and organizational dashboards, updates from staff members and other routine items. Consent agendas should be distributed in advance of the meeting to allow Board members sufficient time to review items and ask for topics to be taken off the consent agenda when they feel discussion is necessary.
- Use dashboards of key indicators to present financial information. The Finance Committee should be doing the deep dive into the numbers and there is no need for the Board to be overwhelmed with pages of financial information.
- Stick to the agenda and be respectful of Board members’ time.
- Consider asking each Board member at the end of the Board meeting to complete a quick evaluation of the meeting. At the Downtown Women’s Center we have recently introduced this assessment and the questions asked include: (1) Are you leaving the meeting confident in the overall performance of our organization? (2) Did you feel you had sufficient opportunity for input? (3) Would you change anything for future meetings?