I heard many valuable things in the informational presentations of Trust, Service and Common Purpose along with the board case study process conducted by Joan Henseleit-Minasian in the three weeks she presented in class. What stood out most to me was her giving us the weekly assignments to work together as a board group with our own titles to implement her information into creating our own CBO and Board. She quoted John Carver, 2006 “Tradition has produced boards that spend more time looking over their shoulder rather than over the horizon.” This was powerful because as we worked in or groups she wanted us to challenge ourselves to establish and think of effective board development. As a group, we had to work together to reach a common ground of accepting our ideas in the roles we play and let each other have a voice. We experienced first hand how it can be frustrating to come up with ideas, listen to one another and believe in what we could do if we worked together as a team.
I gained more knowledge of learning board responsibilities and what they consist of. As the person assigned to the Founder Board title I felt myself playing the role well and not releasing power to staff. I had a strong sense of ownership that didn’t let me see beyond the opportunity to implement new ideas and allow change. Recruiting board members with specialties in areas of management, finance, technology, networking and those who would embrace fundraising is a strong foundation for board development. Being passionate about the CBO’s mission will assist in determining the board member’s role on how involved they plan to be. To be a great board member is not about just showing up to meetings. It’s a commitment to be involved in understanding your role as a board member to fundraising, volunteering, organizing and be able to give a gift as a donor.
Recruiting and retaining board members can be a challenge, but not impossible to accomplish. Educating the board members on their roles and expectations, implement recognition and evaluation of board members is vital. Know who you plan to invite to serve on a board and confirm if they are ready for the commitment.