On January 30, more than 80 board members and staff from local non-profit organizations came together for an inspiring and interactive exploration of board governance. The breakdown of attendee demographics (self-reported by respondents to class survey) follows, with some duplicate roles:
- Staff: 20
- Volunteer: 4
- Board Member: 37
- Other: 8
The session was moderated by BoardSource certified facilitator Susan Decker, who led lively discussions about external and internal forces affecting our organizations, structuring strategic board meetings to support engagement, and ensuring a range of diversity on our boards through recruiting and orienting new members. Read more about BoardSource here.
Group exercises helped reinforce the roles in a constructive board/staff partnership, and helped us identify the next steps toward good governance for our organizations.
In addition to the board members and staff who attended, we were joined by students from four local high schools – Tri-Rivers Career Center, Elgin Local Schools, Marion Harding High School, and River Valley Local Schools. The students’ commitment and thoughtful participation was impressive, and they served as a great example of Susan’s reminder that a successful board should not just reflect diversity of gender and ethnicity, but also of economic status and age.
Among the many takeaways recorded on the class surveys, attendees left the session with plans to:
- Share the information they received at the training session with their fellow board members and/or organization staff.
- Rearrange the order of the agenda at board meetings to address new business at the front, and better engage all members.
- Streamline board meetings with committee reports.
- Make a strategic plan to identify,cultivate and recruit new and diverse board members.
- Devise and implement an onboarding and orientation plan for new board members.
- More participation by board in fundraising process.
- Make an effort to understand each board member’s reason for serving, and to discuss the roles of each member.
- Be more engaged in the work of the board and at board meetings!
The surveys were near unanimous in recommending the training to other staff, volunteers, and board members.
This training is the first in a series offered by BoardSource. United Way of North Central Ohio serves as a resource of funding, collaboration, and connection for our local non-profits. Please stay tuned moving forward as we continue to coordinate trainings and provide resources like Building a Governance Legacy: Creating Success With Your Board.
Special thanks to Crawford Works and Hord Family Farms for their support of this event, and our event sponsor, The Olson Vincent Sharma Group Merrill Lynch Wealth Management!