How to Be a Good Board Member
Taking a positive spin on a frustrating meeting
- •Ask questionsMaybe you are passionate about the org's mission but confused by its budget. Likelihood is that someone else benefits from hearing your question or the answer that (hopefully) follows it.
- •Remember that it's okay to get frustrated with people - maybe it means you actually care?
- •Find an allyProcess tough conversations afterwards
- •Don't just let people who have more experience in ____ make decisions for you. You have your own story and your own opinions
- •Money matters.As someone said tonight AFTER the meeting, "it's not Monopoly money!" Even if you have more than before, budgets are indicative of values
- •Meeting should be for more than just rubber stampingHow much is the org's day to day life aligned with its mission?
- •Meetings should also be a safe space to disagreeOr to vote against the majority. If they're not, how can you help change that culture? Seriously - I want to figure it out.
- •Your voice matters. And even if your "voice" is your facial expression or eye contact.In college, I sat on the "adult" board of an organization that cultivated student life and I was very quiet most of the time but still very engaged. One night, a board member in his 60s came up to me afterwards to thank me for all of my participation in the conversation, which was entirely in eye contact with others around the table. It meant the world to me that he noticed my presence and opinions even without words.
- •Take a risk and tell the president when you think things aren't workingThis isn't easy and may make things trickier in some ways but at least it's in the open. Might even result in positive change for you and/or the org
- •And yet, pick your battles
- •Maybe have a drink afterwards...
- •But if you need multiple drinks after EVERY meeting...Maybe it's time to step down