How to Increase Board Member Engagement & Motivation

4 Tips to Boost Board Member Engagement & Motivation

In a technological world of computers and robotic automation, it can be easy to forget the person sitting behind the screen. It is vital to realize that those individuals are human beings and are a complex composition of physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual characteristics. With that understanding of human nature, constantly reminding board members of their roles and responsibilities about what they need to do, when to do it, and why it must be done according to ideas expressed solely by the board chair can be demoralizing.

To encourage leadership and motivation in members of the board, consider the following four tips:

1. Motivate Interest in Joining the Board

The primary function of the board chair is to draw upon motivation leadership skills to recruit board members with the necessary competences, skills and expertise for the organization. These skills require one-to-one personal communication that shows interest by actively listening to others’ opinions on specific topics and their motivations for joining the board. Personal reasons for being a board member include interacting with others of similar skills, growing skills, increasing one’s expertise, and the social nature that board involvement provides. The chair needs to share information about current board projects and pique others to involvement by explaining how the potential member’s input would add to successful implementation.

2. Lead by Example

A chair understanding the social and intellectual characteristics of their members knows the value of showing enthusiasm for the board agenda. Briefly explaining (and taking actions towards) resolving issues will positively impact the organization and broader community. Remember, always encourage a conversation of ideas, discussion, and suggestions from all members! Delegate action items to members with expertise in specific issues to acknowledge your members and keep them motivated to work hard.

3. Respect Members’ Skillsets

Keep in mind the professional and personal motivations members expressed for joining the board by setting short and long-term goals to accomplish specific board projects and milestones. This will utilize individual members’ strengths and skill sets and keep them engaged. Set the bar of expectations high for each member to show the utilization of their skills to prevent member motivation from stagnating.

4. Show Appreciation

There is nothing better for enhancing board engagement and motivation than showing respect and appreciation. As simple as acknowledging the member’s birthday with a card can let a person know they are valued. Show you know your members personally by sending articles related to their interests. Recognize members’ personal and professional accomplishments at official board meetings and permit the individual a bit of time in the limelight to share their story of achievement. To drive the understanding of boards being a family, allow for socialization away from strict social guidelines, such as a virtual happy hour.

Take Your Motivational Skills to the Next Level

Dennis C. Miller is an expert in nonprofit board and leadership coaching and keynotes several motivational speaker events every year. He has turned his 35+ years of experience into tangible assets to nonprofits through online courses and tools. To receive Dennis’ knowledge and insights, get in touch today!

Dennis C. Miller