Board Basics Guide – An introduction

Why this guide

Board development, the continuing education of board members in order to institute best practices and an efficient workflow, is something all Boards of Directors need but, sadly, we often put off. It is easier to put board development on the back-burner when there are so many other, seemingly more important, issues to address. Often, Boards of Directors are exhausted, overworked and, quite simply, frustrated by the time required by their organizations. Most non-profits are community run, volunteer lead organizations with no to little full-time paid staff, meaning that the volunteer board members are the main worker bees, the front line ensuring the organization’s mission and programming come to life. These are the key reasons why organizations need regular board training.

Our Board Basics Exercise Guide is meant to give you an introduction to the board development process. The guide will walk you through best practices along with exercises to help your organization focus on how to more efficiently and knowledgeably work. Please note that all states have their own version of Charity Law. It is every board member’s responsibility to be aware and knowledgeable of your state’s law. The information contained in this guide are basic best practices that are universal.

Why board development is important

Board development is meant to create a well-balanced, well-managed Board of Directors. Ideally, organizations should have a Board Development Committee. This committee is responsible for continuing education, scheduling of board retreats and trainings, the nomination process and annual evaluations of the board. It is their responsibility to share best practices and address issues that may be clogging up the works within the board. However, we understand that you may not have a Board Development Committee; you may have never ever been through a board training of any kind. This guide is meant to be an introduction to the process. Our goal is to help you grow into a strong and vital institution within your community. 

We recognize that you may be the guinea pig board member – the one tasked to read through and undergo this training process, the one to take notes and report back to the board – and we are happy to have you. It should be noted that for the best outcome all of your board (and even your leadership staff if you have them) will need to go through a training in the near future if your goal is to make a positive, lasting change. Change cannot be predicated on one person but many people working together can make a lasting positive change.

How to use this guide

This guide is meant to lead you through four separate board basics sections: Duties and Policies, Committees and Board Meetings, Communications, and Organizational Planning. Each week we will be posting a series of articles, many of which have an exercise attached to them. We teach, you reflect. In addition, we have four webinars scheduled, one at the end of each section. The webinars are $25 per person, allowing us to review the section, key take-aways and answer some of your questions. In addition, if you feel like your board needs a deeper training we can arrange an individualized webinar and/or an in-person training. Finally, if you feel like you need a sounding board to ask questions relevant to your organization, we can set up a coaching session.

Do you have any questions?

urbanASKEW is always happy to answer your questions. If you get stuck at any point throughout the process, feel free to drop us a note.

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  1. Pingback: A quick review

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