Setting rules for Board participation

Board Participation:
Governance and Expectations
Kim McKelvey, J.D., CFRE
Executive Director
ALPS Foundation Services
Changing board culture is NOT fast.
It’s not even walking pace.
It’s glacial.
Remember, the tortoise won
in the end…
 You already have a board
 You’d like a better-behaved
 You’re hoping setting rules
and expectations for your
new board members will get
you there
The reality
Recruitment and orientation are important puzzle pieces in
changing board culture.
BUT, assuming some current board members are never leaving
(or not soon enough), the hardest work will be done with
your existing board.
Even the most passionate new recruits will wither on a dying
It starts with a GREAT leader …
 Inspire passion
 Provide clear instructions
 Develop policies
 Cajole, harass, appreciate
Inspire passion
 Mission
 Vision
 Strategic planning
 Mission moments
 Storytelling
 Encourage dialogue/questioning
Encourage reflection
Individual and group board member assessment
Mission assessment
Organizational assessment
Planning and evaluation
Interest and needs
(See “Assessment”)
Inspire a culture of philanthropy
Use passionate leadership to make philanthropy central to the
Philanthropy v. fundraising
Avenues to create a culture of philanthropy
(See “Menu”)
Inspire performance
 A commitment to the work of the organization and to the
people served
 A willingness to represent the organization to the public and
to speak in support of the organization
 An ability and a commitment to participate in meetings,
events, and other board-related activities
 Common sense and the ability to exercise good judgment
From The Best of Board Café
Board governance
What is board governance?
Bottom line: the board (not the ED) is responsible for ensuring
the board functions in such a way as maximize the impact of
the foundation’s mission.
Board governance requires that a small group of the board
undertake the tasks necessary to guarantee the board
functions at a high level.
Board governance components
 Structure
 Recruitment
 Nominating
 Orientation
 Training
 Participation
 Committees
 Meetings
 Impact on mission
Start with recruitment
Establishing a sound recruitment policy and procedure sets the
stage for recruiting outstanding board members.
 Board members with skillsets matched to the work of the
 Diverse board
 Recruits know duties of board members before agreeing to
Recruitment logistics
Getting your ducks in a row…
 Bar Foundation job description
 Board member application
 Board skillset
 Recruitment policy, process and timeline
Board member job description
Why is it important?
Because it clearly defines Board members’ roles and
Duties relating to planning, organization, operations,
finances, philanthropy, etc.
Duties related to staff
Board member job description
 Position title
 Function
 Duties
Finance and audit
Number of meetings and participation requirements
Fundraising and giving responsibilities
Committee responsibilities
Training and orientation schedule
(See “Bar Foundation Job Description”)
Board member application
Allows for skillset analysis, including other board work
Identifies potential conflicts of interest
Creates talking points for recruitment meetings
(See “Board application”)
Developing a skillset helps create a list of potential candidate to
recruit for board membership and ask to meet with them
 Develop and disseminate yearly a skills assessment of board
 Coordinate scheduling of skills assessment with board
recruitment policy, by-laws and/or strategic plan
 Board (through committee) and executive director identify
specific skills
(See “Board skills assessment worksheet”)
Recruitment Process
2. Invitation
3. The ask
Recruitment Process
Initial meeting with prospective board member:
 Board chair and executive director attend
 Provide an overview of the organization – mission, vision,
 Provide relevant organizational materials describing the
foundation’s work
 Review the board member job description and application form
 Identify potential conflicts of interest with the candidate
Recruitment Process
Invite prospective member to a board meeting:
 Notify current board members that a potential new
member will be attending
 Name tags and introductions
 Explain acronyms
 Ask the potential new member if they have any
questions – provide names and contact info of other
board members
 Mentor
 Thank them for coming
Recruitment process
The Ask:
 Mentor calls shortly after board meeting
 Solicit their complete board member application and
provide all applications to the board for their review
and election/approval
 Notify new members and invite them to subsequent
board meetings and the board orientation
We recruited them, now what?
 Contract?
 Orientation / mentoring
 Ongoing training
 Appointed to a committee
 Self evaluation to assess if they’re meeting the Board member
job description
 Too often avoided or lost
 A manual is very helpful
 Vital for laying groundwork
 What is a bar foundation? Why is it different from other
 What are a grantmaking organization’s primary responsibilities?
 To whom does the organization make grants? How much?
Why? What is the basic procedure?
 How should the board member interpret the organization’s
financial statements
What else?
Thank you.
ALPS Foundation Services