So much of my organizational work involves Boards. They are the SUPER volunteers of any nonprofit and can add so much to the overall performance and impact. And yet – do they?
Board Source – a leader in Board Governance and best practices, released a new report recently outlining some very important trends. I wanted to share a few insights and the link to the full report.
But first a little humor… and actually an important question to ask always.
Boards are no more diverse than they were two years ago, and current recruitment priorities indicate this is unlikely to change.
Despite reporting high levels of dissatisfaction with current board demographics — particularly racial and ethnic diversity — boards are not prioritizing demographics in their recruitment practices. Nearly a fifth of all chief executives report they are not prioritizing demographics in their board recruitment strategy, despite being dissatisfied with their board’s racial and ethnic diversity.
My perspective ~ I am really surprised at this result and, yet I know when I meet with Board members, they say they are committed to diversity but struggle with how to find diverse members.
I also have had the personal experience of being the only Latina on a Board and wondered if I was there just as a token. The Board had good intentions but once a member, neither staff or Board members really sought out my unique perspective hence, I left after one term.
So…how are you throwing the net out into the community to get qualified, committed diverse new Board members? What plans do you have to retain the members you have worked so hard to recruit?
Chief executives and board chairs agree that the board has an impact on organizational performance, and that two board characteristics matter most: the board’s understanding of its
roles and responsibilities, and the board’s ability to work as a collaborative team toward shared goals.
For both chief executives and board chairs, these two characteristics strongly correlate to their perceptions of the board’s overall impact on organizational performance. While there is no evidence that this relationship is causal, it does document a perceived connection between board performance and organizational performance, and may point to high-leverage opportunities for board development and growth.
My perspective ~ The Board is a team just like the staff is a team. Many Boards do not see themselves this way but more like a collection of talented advocates. So how do help your Board behave more like a team?
One of the findings that I totally agree with is creating some social time between Board members outside of just regular meetings or retreats. They need to get to know each other as people. Even starting 30 minutes before the official start time and having some snacks creates an
informality that is important for team cohesion.
I encourage whether you are a board member or staff to read this important update to Board best practices. Here is the link again.
Want information on how to have an open and productive Board conversation about diversity and/or go into more depth on the Leading with Intent report? Let’s talk: (408) 466- 0604 or firstname.lastname@example.org