by Molly Galo, Senior Consultant
As Advancement professionals, we rely on our board members to fulfill many roles…advisor, counselor, fundraiser, donor, advocate. Do we take the time, regularly, to ensure they have the tools they need to fulfill these roles? Sometimes, we take for granted that our board members know all they need to know about our organization, and we assume they are focused on our mission. But, in order to ensure our board members are both engaged and fulfilled, we must work to keep them connected. An important, yet simple, way to strengthen this connection is to incorporate” mission moments” into every board meeting. Minimally, every meeting agenda should have the organization’s mission printed on it. This requirement may seem trivial, but I’ve been surprised by the number of board members who cannot articulate the mission of the organization. Beyond this practical suggestion, there are a plethora of ways to include a mission moment in every meeting. Here are a few suggestions:
- Invite someone who has benefited from your services to share their impact story with the board;
- Invite a non-advancement staff member to talk about their role with the organization…what they’re working on, who they’re touching, and how the board support helps make the work possible;
- Begin with a “silent start,” by simply asking board members to take a few moments to clear their minds, and quietly reflect on their reasons for being involved with your organization.
As a complement to these mission moments, a creative board chair I know introduced what she calls “moments for mission” into regular meetings. Her strategy engages board members actively. A week or two prior to each meeting, she asks an individual board member to prepare to lead the moment for mission…by sharing a personal story about why they support the organization, by sharing a fundraising strategy they’ve used successfully, by reporting on a conversation they had with someone in the community about the organization’s work. Her board has gotten so excited that even the quietest, least active board members have become energized. One board member spoke about how these moments inspired her to reach out to her employer’s Community Affairs team, to discuss the employer supporting the organization on a bigger scale. Another board member shared his family’s decision to make monetary gifts to the organization rather than giving each other birthday and holiday gifts.
You know your organization, and your board members, best. Be creative when engaging in mission moments …there’s no limit to what you can achieve!
Have a mission moment to share? We’d love to hear your stories. Please post your mission moments as a comment to this blog.