How to Make Your Nonprofit Board More Effective

October 5, 2016 | 1,661 views

How to Make Your Non-Profit Board More Effective

How to Make Your Non-Profit Board More Effective

One of the hardest parts of nonprofit management is getting your board on board. Each person has a full schedule already. Convincing them to focus on your nonprofit and put in the hours it takes to move your organization ahead is difficult. Worse yet, it can stunt your growth.


Here are a few ways to get your nonprofit board to be more effective.


Align Your Team


Look online for “personality test” and you’ll see a myriad of ways that people’s strengths and weaknesses can be analyzed and identified. Every person has their strong suit. Perhaps one person on your board is better with communication, while another is better with finance.


Aligning your board members with roles that fit their strengths is one of the easiest ways to get each person more involved and thereby make them more effective. People are more likely to do what they love. By giving them jobs that are in line with their passion, you instantly motivate the board to want to contribute their efforts toward your end goals.


Automate as Much as Possible


Nonprofits operate on shoestring budgets. That’s not a surprise. What is a surprise is how much work is required to inch the organization forward toward your goals.


The more you can automate your nonprofit, the more time you will free your board up from having to take on unnecessary tasks. This leaves your leaders to focus more on decision making than tedious work.


For example, instead of sending a bunch of emails back and forth with regards to the schedule, you can use an app like ScheduleBase to manage the board meetings and events where the board is expected to make an appearance. This eliminates confusion and simplifies everyone’s job. It also lets your management team know who will and will not be in attendance.


Take a Strategic Approach


Your nonprofit might not feel like a business because your goals are different. You’re not trying to scale quickly and boost profits. Instead, you’re trying to raise enough money to achieve your mission and vision.


Still, treating your nonprofit like a business can have a big time impact on reaching your goals.


By creating a strategic plan for your nonprofit, you set a clear path for your board to follow. This strategy will serve as a lens for decision making. If something is presented to the board, they have a filter when deciding whether or not to follow through with it.


For example, if your nonprofit is approached about putting on an event with another organization, your board can determine whether that event aligns with your overall strategy. Will it help you attract more donations or working capital? Or will it veer you off the path making it harder to get what you need.


Having a strategy serves as the framework for making these decisions. With this, you equip your board to be more effective at guiding the future of your nonprofit.


The Gist

Getting your board to be most effective requires you to put the right people in the right roles, automate as much of the work as possible, and create a strong strategy to guide the decision making. The better you can do this, the better they can steer the organization in the right direction.



Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

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