~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
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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
March 2003 ~ Topic
Board Members Shouldnt Just Fade Away
In the past month two good and extremely capable friends mentioned
to me that they had served previously on boards of organizations they
liked and respected. Their terms had ended and one of them decided not
to serve another term and the other was affected by term limitationsa
policy of that board which he understood. However, both of these people
said that since leaving the board, they had had no communication from
the organization: no newsletters, no calls from the new chairs of committees
they had chaired to ask for advice or information, not even, unbelievably,
a fund raising letter.
Old board members shouldnt just fade away. Some ways to continue
to keep them involved and encourage their continuing support even when
they are no longer voting policy makers are:
- Send them newsletters and annual reports
- Give them an opportunity to share their wisdom with the member(s)
of the new board who is taking over their position
- Ask them to serve on an appropriate committee or
- Ask them to serve on an advisory committee (make sure these committee
assignments are genuine, limited and focused)
- Include them in strategic planning information gathering about the
- Host a yearly coffee or luncheon to which past members are invited
to hear about the progress of the organization
- Ask them to continue to sign fund raising letters to people they
know who have contributed in the past
- Ask them to suggest new funding contacts
- Ask them to suggest names of new board members
- Call them on occasion for advice in the area of their professional
Board members are legally responsible for an organization and work for
the best interests of the organization during their terms on the board.
The organization needs to recognize that. It is foolish not to continue
to consider past members as members of its supporting family.
I welcome other ideas for including past board members as continuing
supporters and resources.
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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,
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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