Engaging the Board Is Boring, Here Is How to Make It Fun

November 24, 2020

In this episode of the NP Local podcast, co-hosts Jason Cass and Scott Niermann, MPA, CFRE, discuss how to engage your board and how to make the engagement fun and meaningful for the board members.

Episode Highlights:

  • Scott gives a summary of the ways to engage your board. (2:09)
  • Scott shares that you have to remember that board members are not corporate board members getting stock options for serving. Rather, they are volunteers and givers. (4:56)
  • Scott mentions that you must have accountability between the board, staff, and the general public. Because the purpose of a public charity in the IRS code is that we’re doing something good for the public. (5:32)
  • Scott mentions that insurance is a difficult business. It’s different from most other jobs, and it’s a huge impact on the country’s economy and the entire sector. (11:00)
  • Scott shares that a powerful way to demonstrate impact to a board member is by bringing one of your beneficiaries to give their testimony and speak to that board. (11:29)
  • Jason shares a story about the time when they raised money for the after school programs for kids, at Centralia Youth Initiative. (12:20)
  • Jason mentions an article entitled I can’t afford my wife, by Erik Garcia. (14:58)
  • Scott mentions that you can exchange ideas around key board members and to some of your skilled professionals when you have a legal issue, financial question, or investment question. (16:29)
  • Scott shares a book that’s going to help board members to serve not just on your board, but on other boards as well. It’s called The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards: A 59-Minute Guide to Assuring Your Organization’s Future, by Jerry Panas. (16:56)
  • Scott shares that they always try to show impact, improvement, but also, have fun and get your board involved in creative fundraising events. You must know your members, know what their triggers are, and know what’s going to be meaningful and enjoyable to them. (18:59)
  • Jason shares the significance of the board members is that it doesn’t only filter out the person at the very beginning to make sure you get the right one, but it allows you to hold accountability in the future. (21:29)
  • Jason mentions that accountability is the key to the military, accountability is the key to the process of big companies, and accountability is the key to good parenting. (21:51)

Key Quotes:

  • “At my business, we are here to be serious and be professional. But I tell my team all the time, we’re 51% having fun. Our expertise will come through when our customers and clients need us. But overall, we have to maintain good mental health, we have to keep our clients informed and our staff informed.” – Jason Cass
  • “I believe they have a place in the nonprofit world if they have a big heart for the community, they love people, animals, or the environment. These are the things that you can do. Nonprofits are doing economic development, so whatever your passion is, it’s there for a reason.” – Scott Niermann
  • “Engaging your boards, one of the most important things that an executive director of a nonprofit is going to do. Yes, they hire and fire you, but they’re also donors, they’re also volunteers, they’re givers of time, not just money, but time.” – Scott Niermann
  • “We need to know what our mission surely is. Not just because we have it written down, but to be able to emphasize it through passion. We need to be able to let them know what we expect of that board members so that everything’s out on the table.” – Jason Cass

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