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Look here for infomation and the latest techniques to develop your board or committee. The purpose is to help those who work or serve on nonprofit boards of directors or committees.

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~ December 2002 ~ Topic

Field Trips Aren't Just for Grade Schoolers

Committee and board members need to go on field trips, too; and they don't need signed permission slips!

Too often committee and board members of an organization have never gone out in the field to see what the services are that the organization delivers.

  • How can you advise a disaster relief organization if you have never seen the staff and volunteers on the scene of a disaster?
  • How can you fund raise for an organization that helps children with mental retardation if you never have visited a day-care center and seen the staff work to bring out each child's potential?
  • How can you make budget decisions if you haven't seen some programs in action and have some sense of the value they add to the community?

So, if your organization doesn't think of it, ask to visit some programs.

For example, I once served on the board of an organization that provided free home health care to people who could not afford to pay for it. The organization required that every board member spend a day in the field with a nurse. I think that before my field trip I envisioned the nurses testing blood pressure, changing bandages and administering medications. While these are important things to do, I also learned from my field trip that, in addition, the nurses provided all kinds of equally important emotional and professional support to the patient and his/her family. They also bravely faced many obstacles in terms of transportation and access to poorer neighborhoods in order to perform their service. Did that make me more committed to that organization? You bet it did!

See our bookstore for Jeanne Bradner's book on boards:
The Board Member's Guide: A Beneficial Bestiary.
In "show" box, click Jeanne Bradner.

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Other good sources for information on boards and committees:

Jeanne H. Bradner

Jeanne H. Bradner is an author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership. She is the author of three publications, Passionate Volunteerism, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today. She served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management curriculum.

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