It’s no secret that board engagement is essential to the health of any nonprofit organization. If your board is engaged, they are willing to give more of their time, are more likely to go above and beyond with their roles/duties and will surpass expectations, thus being more impactful. When your board is fully engaged, members will be your biggest supporters, promoters, ambassadors, and strategists.

If your board is engaged they will speak about you in the community, being your biggest cheerleaders and ambassadors. Members will connect your organization with their contacts that could help your organization, share your message, and increase your social impact. Take a moment to imagine just how much your organization could accomplish and how much impact you can make if you have your board so engaged that they are out in the world telling everyone about your organization. They are excited to share your organization’s mission and their excitement is getting others excited and wanting to get involved with your organization and make real social impact.

As a nonprofit leader, make sure that you have a plan in place to encourage board engagement, which requires a hands-on approach. Creating an excellent onboarding experience for board members is a great way to make that first and lasting impression with members. While we know that it takes valuable time to properly onboard someone, it’s important to not rush through this crucial step.

Here are some ideas for onboarding new board members:

  • Create training videos that welcome them to the team while including valuable information about your organization, its mission, and why you are so excited to have this new board member as part of your organization. Bonus points if you create a personalized video to welcome members. You can create short videos like this through programs like Loom or Zoom (there is no shortage of recording tools for your phone and/or desktop that would allow this to be easy for you).
  • Create a cloud-based system that contains governing documents, your organization’s mission statement, member’s roles, resources, etc.
  • Create and send out a “meet our new board member” announcement through a newsletter, a press release in the local business journal and paper, putting something on your organization’s website, placing an announcement on social media, etc.
  • You could plan an event to allow existing board members and team members to meet your newest board member. Maybe even schedule events quarterly for your key team members and board members.
  • Add the new member to your organization’s email lists
  • Schedule an on-site visit for new board members, preferably before their first board meeting if possible.
  • Pair up new board members with existing board members to help members connect and get acclimated to your organization quicker.
  • Create a new member packet (the videos mentioned above could be part of the new member packet). You could also have some branded swag to give to the new member along with any marketing materials you may have which could help the new member speak to others about your organization.