Follow these tips to keep your boards from being “bored:”
State Your Expectations. These volunteers have been invited to sit on the board or committee for a specific reason. Maybe it’s because of their position within the community, a talent they have to offer, or their willingness to donate time to a worthwhile cause. Whatever the reason, tell them why they are on the board, and what you expect to do with their wonderful abilities. (P.S. It should be more than just attending a meeting now and again.)
Be Prepared. Send out the agenda in advance of the board meeting. (One board member declared, “No agenda; no attenda!”) Clearly state the purpose, the deliverables, and if you expect them to “do” anything. If you don’t ask, they won’t know how they can help you.
Respect Time. To volunteers, time is their most valuable asset. Start on time. End on time. Where possible, ask them to review summary materials (not the whole enchilada — unless they ask for it) prior to attending the session.
Be Flexible around schedules and special needs. Your volunteers are, after all, helping the cause. But, if you find yourself bending way over backward to accommodate them, you may need to reconsider their participation.
Provide Social Opportunities. Volunteers also participate because of networking and social opportunities. Encourage members to arrive early or stay late to socialize, but get down to business during the actual meeting.
Recognize Effort. Your lavish praise may be the only reason they keep coming back. Be creative in finding new ways to tell them how much you appreciate their help and support through thank-you notes, newsletter photos, and the spoken “thank you,” not just once, but often.
If volunteers know that they are in good hands and appreciated, they will be more likely to show up and do great work.