How to Keep Your Board Members Engaged?

By: Karen Jess and Stacey NelsonGroup photo

When your board consists of volunteers, keeping them engaged and “volunteering,” can be a challenge. But, from what we’ve seen, an engaged board is critical to your organization’s success. An engaged board leads to more movement, more donations, more doors opened, and more spreading of your all-important mission. But, engagement can be a difficult goal.

In a recent newsletter, we invited recipients to take a survey and asked the question “What method(s) do you use to get and keep your board members engaged?” The common theme among responses? “Regular.” As in, regular communication via email and regular in-person meetings. One respondent even noted that, on a regular basis, they try to send along thought-provoking articles to their board, to keep them informed and keep them actively thinking about the nonprofit.

Other tips that we’ve seen (and agree with!) are:

From Is Your Nonprofit Board Bored?:

  • Using an outside facilitator for discussion of issues.
  • Periodic off-site meeting retreat.

From How to Engage Your Board Members – and Keep Them That Way:

  • Provide a thorough orientation.
  • Help them see their efforts as critical to your nonprofit’s success (or they’ll take their skills to an organization that they feel will better benefit from what they have to offer).

What other useful tricks have you employed or seen employed that work especially well?


RELATED: Our firm is hosting a webinar on April 23rd on the topic of how to get your board involved in fundraising – one very important area for engagement. Please click here to learn more.

FASB to Conduct More Research Before Making NFP Liquidity Recommendations

At a recent FASB meeting, the Board instructed staff to conduct more research into the implications of providing liquidity information on an NFP’s financial statements and notes.  Many of the suggestions were met with support AND reservations.  Board members were concerned that there could be overlap that would result in redundant disclosures.

The Board has taken on this discussion with the objective that clarity is achieved in how not-for-profits provide information that allows donors, creditors, and other users to assess the liquidity of an NFP.


FASB to Examine Some Areas of Fair Value Standards

Contributed by Dave Studebaker

After reviewing the Financial Accounting Foundation’s (the Foundation) Post-Implementation Review (PIR) Report on FASB Statement No. 157, the FASB board acknowledged that some aspects of Statement 157 are still challenging to some stakeholders and noted that they would research the related concerns.

In a letter, FASB Chairman Russell Golden noted that the “PIR team had two specific recommendations relating to efforts to summarize and document cost-benefit considerations and enhancements to user outreach and related documentation. We view both of these areas as critical to the strengthening of the credibility of our due process efforts, and we appreciate the recommendations.”

An indication as to the timing of this research was not given.

Big Growth in Number of NPOs

A recent article in The New York Times, For Nonprofits, a Bigger Share of the Economy, calls attention to the fact that growth in the number of nonprofit businesses (+25%) far surpasses growth in number of for-profit businesses (+0.5%), from 2001 -2011.  The article’s author opines that one of the reasons for this may be due to an aging population and a correlating rise in the demand for health care.

What do you think?  What is spurring the growth?