A question I am frequently asked is, “Once I get my board fired-up, then how on earth do I keep my board members motivated and enthusiastic? Whenever the board members gather together, we get excited and energized about our work. But my board members frequently get distracted with other priorities. What to do?”
The first thing you must do is take responsibility for keeping your board energized. If you are the nonprofit CEO, do everything you can to keep them going. AND if you are the chair of the board, also, do everything YOU can to fan the flames of your board members’ energy.
When you assume responsibility, then you can’t expect that someone else will assume this role. Do you know the saying, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me?” Well, here’s the perfect place to implement that idea.
If your board is gonna stay excited, motivated and energized, it won’t happen without YOU taking the lead.
You can’t expect your busy board members to keep focused and energized on their own. If you leave it up to them, you just may be disappointed. This is “Volunteer Management 101” – and the number one job of managing volunteers is motivating them.
Here is a real life best practice example from a board I am currently serving on. This is from the CEO of Lillian’s List, a political action group on whose board I serve. Our CEO, Carol Teal, is just about the best nonprofit CEO I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
Here is a recent “cheerleading” email Carol sent us board members. Needless to say, it pumped us up and made us feel really good about the results we are creating in the world. We are all engaged in a big project to systematically and personally thank our donors.
‘Thank you to all the Board members for taking the time to help us say thank you. The connections that we all have with each other is what sets this organization apart from any other I have been involved with in the past 20 years.
“Thank you to Karen and Ernestine for joining the Trailblazer Major Donor Club and thank you to Kim for providing the excellent support to all of us so we can say thank you. And thanks to Claire for keeping us all engaged with the Fund Development part of our mission. Onward!
“I’m leaving now to meet with another potential Trailblazer. I love asking and I thank all of you for being part of thanking.”
Carol complimented various board members for their efforts and successes. By praising them in front of other board members (which is something all board members love), she sets the bar higher for all the other board members. She holds these folks up as examples for the rest of us.
And do note that she ended by letting us know how excited she was about raising money. She is out there making solicitations all the time. We can’t let her down! It makes us feel like we are all in this together.
It’s a wonderful feeling! And you can bet that this board is sure FIRED-UP!