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VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

They are volunteers, too!

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.

~ August 2003 ~ Topic

Board Buddies

New board members have a lot to learn, even if they have served or are currently serving on other boards. Each board is different, and board handbooks, orientations and retreats are necessary tools for new, as well as less new, board members to remind them of the history, mission, policies and procedures of a particular board.

But usually new board members will have questions that don’t occur to them until they have attended a meeting or are reading their board meeting packet. Yes, they can call the President or the Executive Director, but they may be reluctant to burden these busy people with another phone call, or think that their question is too trivial.

Mentor ImageA board buddy or board mentor system can be less intimidating and be a vehicle for creating friendly relations between board members.

Match each of your new board members with a board member who has served for more than a year. Ask the mentors to call their assigned new members or invite them out for coffee. Ask the mentors to encourage the new members to telephone or email them with any questions, even simple ones like “when’s the next meeting?”

This system can be very helpful in opening communication. It is particularly effective for large boards where it is often difficult, because of the size of the board, for members to get to know each other.

See our online bookstore for Jeanne Bradner's book on boards: "The Board Member’s Guide: A Beneficial Bestiary", "Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today" and "Passionate Volunteerism."
Board Member's Guide Image"Board Member's Guide Image
Passionate Volunteerism Image
Leading Volunteers Book Image Passionate Volunteerism Book Image Board Member's Guide Book Image

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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