Welcoming a new board member is an important time. You have the opportunity to bring a new, fresh perspective to your board and organization. There can be a steep learning curve for a new board member and it can take months for them to get up to speed and feel comfortable sharing ideas. To speed up that process boards do well by having a strong orientation and onboarding process.
An orientation process that includes a tour of the facility and an opportunity to meet some staff members and customers allows new board members to connect with the mission. This will improve engagement and drive important conversations benefiting the board and the organization.
Boards can facilitate an onboarding process for new board members that includes:
- Assigning a board mentor: This experienced board member would serve as your “go to” colleague. They would be available to answer questions and interact with the new board member before and after board meetings. They should also be the bridge in introducing them to other board members to begin developing relationships.
- Provide a Board Member Resource Book: This resource is everything that is essential for board members to know about the board and organization. This can include items such as articles of incorporation, bylaws, board policies, the strategic plan, board minutes and many more items critical to the board and organization. Share board minutes from the previous 2 years, highlighting important actions taken.
- Host a social gathering: This dedicated social gathering is a time outside of any board meeting to give time for new board members to meet their fellow board members. This allows your new members to build relationships and personal connections. This will bolster the board’s ability to have candid conversations when making tough decisions.
These steps can help a new board member feel welcome and engaged. MHS offers many more resources for recruiting, onboarding, and mentoring new board members. These practices will help your organization develop and cultivate strong and engaged board members who will become your nonprofit’s best ambassadors, advocates, strategists, and all-around supporters.
To learn more and utilize MHS’s full list of governance resources, click here.