The Board of Directors spends most of its governance time during board meetings, yet if you ask board members what is the least rewarding part of board service, they will often respond that it is attending board meetings. Board meetings don’t have to be boring, and certainly shouldn't be if the goal is to have a fully functioning governing board.
It is important that board meetings be productive and that board members' volunteer time is well spent. The ultimate goal is to have a board meeting that encourages participation from all of the members and facilitates dialogue about important issues and concerns to the organization. The resources shared within this section can help to improve how your board meetings are run and boost board member engagement.
When the board is meeting, you want the group to address strategic issues. Here are some questions that can help stimulate this kind of probing and exploratory discussion:
- What does our board do to make sure that all board members have a clear picture of the organization’s financial health?
- How does our board evaluate the chief executive and the board itself?
- What does our board do to ensure that our mission, vision and values are reflected in our programs and services? Does the board evaluate the quality of our organization's programs?
- How can our board assure that the board's composition reflects the strategic needs of our agency?
- What can our board do to improve the active engagement of board members in the work of the overall Board of Directors?
- What do I do to make sure board members have easy access to information that they need to make effective decisions?
- How might we change the agenda for board meetings to make the meeting more meaningful to both the participants as well as for the agency overall?
- What can be done to make board work more strategic?
For additional in-depth information on planning meetings, structure, decision making, participation, and overcoming barriers, check out Meeting and Exceeding Expectations: A Guide to Successful Nonprofit Board Meetings, available for purchase from BoardSource.