As we continue to experience the challenges of being separated physically from our community during the COVID-19 pandemic, many nonprofits are asking us a critical question: “How do we continue to engage our board?” Board members have many critical responsibilities to an organization, as demonstrated by this BoardSource infographic. However, as chief advocates, they have an active and essential role to play in advancement activities within their organization. Now is the time when board members have an opportunity to engage and focus on the much needed community-building activities that will ensure stakeholders remain engaged. Focus on the fundamentals:
Emphasize mission and vision. Mission is the common thread that unites all nonprofit organizations. Mission statements exist in religious organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and social service, child protection, arts, and educational organizations. As a board, revisit yours. Everything that you do should, in some way, serve to advance the mission. Now is a good time to review and make sure your strategic priorities as an organization align with your mission and vision.
Create awareness and education opportunities. Work on building your network of supporters. One of the essential roles board members have is to be ambassadors of an organization. All board members can showcase on their social media the work and impact of your organization during this pandemic by sharing social media posts or interesting articles or websites. Not only is it a good way to create a higher level of awareness of your organization’s impact in the community but it will likely introduce the mission of the organization to new friends.
Communicate with and connect to your stakeholders. Board members have a wonderful opportunity at the moment to connect and show personal appreciation to donors. All board members can be “assigned” the privilege of thanking donors! This can be done in various ways: phone calls, personal notes, video chats, etc. This not only serves as a stewardship opportunity but truly as an engagement opportunity as board members can share how your organization continues to serve during COVID-19.
All of these steps come down to relationships and how we care for them. Board members are exactly the leadership that we need engaged at this time to communicate to stakeholders that their past, current, and future investments of resources in the organization will accomplish something that will make a difference both personally and within the greater community. Board members will help to credential the organization in both the short and long term. Organizations have weathered many challenges over the years. Leadership has learned critical strategies in guiding nonprofits and creating the capacity to recover from difficulties. We will recover, and we will survive. Hope is eternal—allow it to give you peace! “…as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18