Friday, March 28, 2014

Talking Success: 3 Tips for Serving on a Non-Profit Board

Sometimes my weekly blog post gets away from me.  This week, I have many excuses -- super full days of meetings (even went down to Austin for lunch, then back in one day) and night-time stuff too (hosted a party for 100+ teens last night), so the blog just had to go on Wednesday and then again on Thursday and it almost went today -- BUT no, I'm writing it because this is the post the world needs -- at least in my tiny mind, anyway!

NOTE:  Last night was the last time I'll ever throw a high school party, as the youngest niece of my only brother is graduating from high school in May.  My mom and I hosted Lina and her friends with a #ThrowbackThursday skate party at White Rock Skate Center and we hired the In-N-Out Burger Truck to come and do burgers for them.  It was a huge success, and once again I was reminded that those kids at HPHS really are great kids.  This is Lina with me before the throngs arrived -- about the only time I saw her all night...

Now back to what the world needs -- tips for success for serving on a non-profit board!

I have been the CEO for a non-profit agency for more than 15 years, so I know what I'm talking about -- of course, ask the board members at Community Partners of Dallas or Wipe Out Kids' Cancer if you don't believe me -- and if you do ask them, be sure and tell me what they said -- I'm nosy that way.  And speaking of talking, this brings me to my Talking Success Tips:
  1. Talk to the CEO/ED.  As a board member you are supposed to be there for counsel and advice -- so give it.  Your experience could bring a fresh approach to a problem the non-profit is facing.  I can't tell you what a blessing it is to receive a call or an email from one of our board members (we have 25 over here at CPD).  Just a "Hello, how's it going over there?" is wonderful and often gets my brain switched on in a new way.
  2. Tell them you need to resign.  It's been said before and will be said again, but if you cannot attend the board meetings and events, resign immediately.  The non-profit needs someone who can show up and give everything -- their time, talent, and treasure.  You are doing the charity a real disservice by holding on.  And believe me -- EVERYONE knows that you are the slacker.  Get off and give someone else a chance to provide new resources.
  3. Tell your friends (and strangers) why you care about your charity.  Most people want something to talk to you about.  Mention that you're on the board of such-and-such agency and just wait -- they'll ask you about it, and even if that person doesn't, the next one will.  Some of our best donors at CPD have come to us because a board member told them about the agency.
What are your tips?

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