Secret board development memo

For the last four days, this blog focused on board development by sharing input from real, live board members thanks to an online survey I randomly sent out to people in my email address book who I know currently serve on a non-profit board. During the week, one volunteer sent me an “internal memo” from their company encouraging their employees to join non-profit boards.

As a non-profit leader, I always wanted to be a “fly on the wall” in the corporate boardroom. So, I found this memo to be an interesting glimpse into what motivates companies that encourage their employees to “sit” on boards. Here is a copy of that memo (note: I’ve changed names to protect the volunteer who forwarded this to me. Please know that this is a very large firm, which is similar to the example written about in Monday’s blog):

One of [Company X’s] strategic goals are to elevate the Firm’s visibility through leadership in our communities. A key component of this goal is to encourage employees at all levels to become involved with philanthropic and charitable boards. Joining a not-for-profit board:
•   Offers an opportunity to give back to the community in which you live and work
•   Provides networking opportunities with other dedicated community leaders
•   Enhances personal relationships beyond one’s technical circle of colleagues
•   Develops valuable business management skills
If you think you might be interested in joining a not-for-profit board, you are not alone. Most [Company X] employees are not board members, but there is no stopping those with a little passion, dedication and commitment.
Please join Not-for-profit Partner [John Doe] on Wednesday from 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 a.m. in the training room, when he presents “Board Training and Placement”. He will outline everything you need to know to join a not-for-profit board, including:
•   Duties of a board member
•   What to expect as a board member
•   How not-for-profits differ from other organizations
•   How to find an appropriate board to join
The session is open to all, regardless of your position with [Company X]. All you need to bring is the desire to get involved.  If you are interested in attending this session please use the voting button above to confirm your attendance and … if you are already on a board; please join us to share your experiences.
For your convenience a calendar invitation has been attached, just double-click it to add this session to your calendar.

I find this memo very interesting because it helps me see more clearly why some people feel compelled by their employers to “sit” on a non-profit board. It is also interesting to see what perceived benefits companies think they receive through their employees board involvement.

If I were still an executive director, I might memorize the contents of this memo, and vocalize these perceived benefits of board membership during the recruitment process. Of course, I’d probably beat a dead horse when it came to talking about board roles and responsibilities (esp around fundraising).

What does this memo tell you? Was there anything you found interesting in the content?  If you could, how would you change your agency’s board development processes? Do you see a role for donors in the board development process? If so, what does that look like? Please use the comment box to share your thoughts because we can all learn from each other!

Here is to your health!

Erik Anderson
Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.