How does an organization attract a great Board of Directors? What type of people should you ask? What should you look for?
Mike Arms gives simple tips to start looking for a Board of Directors that will assist your organization in fulfilling its mission of saving lives. For example, just by changing the time of day your meeting takes place may attract more people in serving on your Board.
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I’m going to talk a little bit about Board of Directors. I do a lot of traveling to different organizations and do a lot of Board Retreats. A lot of times I find that a lot of organizations are having trouble with the Administration and the Board because they are not ‘gelling’ together.
It can’t always be the same answer, ‘Well, that’s the way it’s always been’ because, as you know, this year, in the United States, we are going to kill five million pets because ‘that’s the way it’s always been.’ We need to change.
The people we bring on the Board have to bring something that we can utilize. What do we need from board members? Well, we need their intelligence. We need their marketing skills. We need their promotional skills. We need their PR skills. We need their financial advice. So, that being said, what type of people should we be looking at?
We should be looking at somebody that’s an attorney that can give us legal advice. We need somebody that’s a CPA that can give us financial advice. We need somebody that has a marketing background, or works for a Public Relations firm so they can give us those pieces that we don’t have in our organization.
It is very difficult to get that caliber of people on some of these Boards. And I find that the reason is the organization doesn’t think as a business.
At the end of the day, a lot of directors and staff are tired after working all day. A lot of organizations have their board meetings in the evening, after everybody’s tired. They feel they need to have a board meeting every single month, and they go over the same thing every single month. You’re not going to attract the caliber of business person that you’re looking for if you want to have monthly meetings in the evening.
Now I find what works for us, and I’m not saying it’s going to work for every organization – some organizations need more, but I’ll tell you what works for us. We have quarterly full board meetings. That means every three months, we get together with the full Board and we do our meetings in the morning, from 9 a.m. to noon. We have the agenda sent out, everybody knows what we’re on, we don’t stray from the agenda, its all done in a professional manner, same as any major company would do.
Now, those months when we don’t have a full board meeting we have an Executive Committee meeting. During those Executive Committee meetings we go over financials, just like the full Board, we go over the pros and cons of the organization, where we need help, where we’re exceeding. It’s all done in a very scheduled way.
If you want to attract good business people and they just want to sit on the main Board, they would only have to give up four mornings a year. That’s not hard for them to do. It’s not hard for a banker to put on their schedule that four mornings a year I have to go to a board meeting. You keep them informed through emails and board reports so they know what’s going on so when they come to a Board meeting they are totally prepared; what we’re going to be discussing, what the agenda is, and they already received all the information so they’re ready for this.
I find that this way is so much easier for them to attract this caliber of board members if they don’t make it overpowering for them. Understand: they have full time jobs, they have lives, so you want to gain their expertise but you don’t want to take advantage of it.