What is your board's biggest challenge?
What is your board’s biggest challenge? Spent yesterday morning in a CentrePoint workshop on ‘The New World of Volunteer Boards’, and had some interesting discussions with the group around what issues have arisen on their boards in the last five years. Their comments seemed to mirror my own observations over the last five years. First and foremost is an increase in member demands on volunteer board members – this coupled with increased career and family demands on those same volunteers has led to constrained resources across the board. Board recruitment was also identified as a pervasive issue – identifying ways to attract those volunteers that will fill in any skill set gaps on your board. And of course, once you have those board members in place, how do you keep them engaged? This is particularly challenging when you have cross-generational board members who may be looking for different things out of their volunteer experience. Other concerns the group noted included:
- Mission drift
- Board members with personal agendas
- Increased competition from other associations
- Poor governance structures
- Prolonged decision making process
With increasing demands for accountability and transparency on nonprofit boards, strong board leadership is now more important than ever. I look forward to providing recommendations for how to tackle these, and other common organizational issues, in future postings.
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