Dear board volunteers . . . Please join for the right reasons.

mardi gras mask17DonorDreams blog is honored to be hosting the May 2013 Nonprofit Blog Carnival. The theme this month is “Dear board volunteer . . .” and the idea is “If you could write an anonymous letter to a nonprofit board about something they do that drives you crazy, what would that letter look like and what suggested solutions would you include?” If you are a blogger and would like more information on how to participate and submit a post for consideration, please click here to learn more.

I wanted to expand the Nonprofit Blog Carnival concept in May. So, I reached out to real non-profit people and asked them to also write an anonymous letter to their board volunteers. These folks are executive directors, fundraising professionals, board members, donors, community volunteers, consultants and front line staff. I promised everyone anonymity in exchange for their submissions.

We will celebrate May’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this real look at real issues that our community deals with on a daily basis.

Here is today’s letter:

Dear Board volunteers . . . 

I have served on this Little League board for 5 years.  In these 5 years, I’ve seen many board members come and go.   I feel to have an effective board, members should serve at least two consecutive terms.  The first term will be a learning curve and in the second you will be aware of what needs to get done. You will be in position to take a new member “under your wing” and continue to improve the board.

In the past 5 years, I have seen 80% of board turnover in member who were “one and done”.  

I know sometimes life just happens (e.g. change in job, kid does not play baseball anymore).  However, a majority of the board member were on it for the wrong reasons from the start.  

In one example, board members applied for the post season all-star manager job. Their kid had never made the all-star team  and by all indications should not have made in that year.  Luckily, as a board, we voted another candidate to the position.  So I ask, why did you go out for the board? What were your intentions?

Another person had a daughter of age who could work in the concessions.  The Mother had applied to serve on the board even though she did not have a child in the program.  When the season started and all of the previous year’s concession workers returned, there were no jobs for her daughter (but she was placed on the wait list).  The Mother quit the board.  Again, why did you really join the board? What were your intentions?

This is my point . . . the purpose of any volunteer, non-profit board is focused on the good of the many and not the few. The league is about all the player, workers and officials, not your kid and your agenda.  

There are so many ways to contribute, which will show your kid the art of giving back and make the organization better over all.  If you’re a handy person, there is always something that needs to be fixed or repaired.  If you are a great sales person, you can sell raffle tickets for the cash drawing on opening day.  If you have a connection with a food supplier, we are always looking for ways to cut costs and increase revenue.

So, I will end with this……….make this season about the league.  Make it the best league in the country.  Work as a team.  The bylaws are clear.  You don’t need to reinvent the league . . .  just refine the small stuff.

Casey at Bat

If you have some advice for the author of our anonymous letter, please share it in the comment box at the bottom of this post in a respectful manner.  If you want to submit an anonymous letter for consideration this month, please email it to me at the address in your signature block below. If you are a blogger looking to participate in this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival and want to learn more, then please click here.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

One comment

  1. love it, so many people join boards for the wrong reasons, as an employee at a not for profit it is very hard to take direction from a board member who is NOT an expert in the field but rather joined to change things for their own child or personal interest, there is so much backward steps before we get to go forward often solely because of the board members directives that are not best for the whole.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.