developing news_Engaging time, talent and treasure for maximum results

A case for “friendraising,” part 2

By Chris Doyle

Good boards don’t just happen any more than a church service just happens. Planning, preparation and prayer go into any good thing that we do. The same holds true for boards.

Part 1, in the last issue, explored how to build a board. The next step is to engage your board. Typically you are looking for board members to give three things: time, talent and treasure. An A+ board member contributes all three. But that level of engagement takes time. As your board member increases his or her involvement, other things follow.

TIME: Time is valuable and good board members are naturally busy people. But if they’re willing to give up part of their lives to be engaged in your board, it is critical you make wise use of their time. Generally, boards meet once a month, but members should also be encouraged to serve on committees, come to functions and events and be available for phone call consultations. Here are a few tips to ensure good time management:

• Plan for efficient board meetings. Have an agenda and keep to a pre-determined timetable. Only meet when you need to meet. Boards should do board work, not committee work. Send out board meeting notices at least two weeks in advance. Remember, busy people have busy schedules. They need dates well in advance to plan.

• Form committees to do work outside of the regular board meeting. This keeps the regular board meetings at a higher level. Committees should meet and report back to the board. If a committee is not functioning it needs to be re-energized or disbanded. Don’t keep committees going if they have served their purpose. Good committees include: Public Relations, Events, Finance, Property and Red Kettle.

• Keep minutes and distribute them promptly. Minutes are the record of decisions and the assignments. It does no good to take minutes and then wait until the next meeting to hand them out. It is good practice to have the minutes distributed within a week. For those who could not attend, it brings them up to speed. For those who did, it is a good reminder of actions they need to take before the next meeting.


TALENT: As you select board members you should be looking for various talents, backgrounds and expertise that you need. A diverse board will broaden the potential for assistance to your corps.

• Besides people with connections, it is important to have a board member comfortable with networking. This is the person who may not have a particular expertise, but through their networking process, can find the person who does. Professional backgrounds that make for good board members are attorneys, those with a marketing or PR background, people with connections to other social service agencies, small business owners, those in the education field and folks with other church contacts.

• Think about the talents you want and then make a plan to find those kinds of people. You will have a better and stronger board as you add diversity of skill sets to the mix. Once you get them on the board, then find good ways to engage the members to maximize their talents.


TREASURE: Some of the people you add to your board will already be donors. Some may never have given before. But generally speaking, “share of heart” means “share of pocketbook.” As board members give of their time and talent, they see the giving of their treasure as a natural next step.

• Have an annual board giving campaign. Set a goal that is attainable but challenging.

• Make sure you are sharing the need. If the board never hears about need, they will think they don’t need to give. • See if they will adopt a specific project and either give or find the funds in the community.

• Include your board in events. Perhaps ask them to sponsor one.

• Engage your board in the Red Kettle program. Ask the board to match whatever comes in through the kettles for a day or a week.

• Thank board members for each gift. A personal thank you note or call is best.


Start small and build. Generally people give because they are asked. We are not asking people to serve only because they can donate. But we do want to engage people on all three levels.

If you find the right people and engage them in the right way, you will see them share their time, talent and treasures. Then, as they say, your board will be firing on all cylinders.

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