Engaging the Board Is Hard, Here Is How to Make It Easy

November 17, 2020

In this episode of the NP Local podcast, co-hosts, Jason Cass and Scott Niermann, MPA, CFRE, share three basic tips on engaging your board and talk about understanding your vision and its significance in the foundation of your Nonprofit. 

Episode Highlights:

  • Jason mentions that they’re starting to receive feedback from the podcast listeners. (1:06)
  • Scott mentions that the board is legally responsible, but it’s on the staff to engage the board. (2:26)
  • Scott shares that in reality, it’s still on the Director to make sure that the board has the necessary information, structure, and meaning behind what they’re doing. (3:10)
  • Jason shares that the three basic tips are: communicating, structure, and making it fun and meaningful. (3:30)
  • Scott mentions some of the points that we need to be communicating aside from the day-to-day operations is their role when onboarding a new board member. (4:46)
  • Jason mentions that a lot of times, nonprofits will look for people that are big in the community. (7:41)
  • Jason shares that miscommunication causes so many of the world’s problems. (10:20)
  • Scott shares that it’s significant that the bylaws are reviewed regularly every year or every other year and it doesn’t mean that there’s a change needed. (11:14)
  • Scott mentions that when starting a nonprofit, an attorney should be able to help with what passes state scrutiny. (11:32)
  • Scott mentions that the board members simply renew every year, and there’s no staggering. (12:36)
  • Scott shares a website called, Board Effect. It’s about the best practices in term limits and rotating two terms of three years each. (14:10)
  • Jason mentions that the diversity on boards happens to be a big part of our society today. (14:42)
  • Scott mentions that if you have all those different skill sets, you need to understand the resources that your members bring to the table. (18:59)

Key Quotes:

  • “What’s more important is finding somebody that besides the church, this is their second cause, this is what they do. This is their passion, this is where they put their money, they could be a nobody, they could be a no-name, and that person has so much more value than the head banker in town or doctor, or whatever you may want to put on.” – Jason Cass
  • “I believe you need a mix of all those who are more passionate, they’re not necessarily there for business reasons are going to inspire others, and those who are there for business reasons, they may even have a vested interest in ensuring your success.” – Scott Niermann
  • “You want your nonprofit to be strong enough to always have that pipeline, that nominating committee pipeline of names and leaders and supporters that can serve for a term or two, and give some of these folks a break.” – Scott Niermann
  • “I just want to encourage the Directors out there and our local listeners that engaging your board doesn’t have to be scary. This is important. It’s very important, probably one of the most important things you do, I’d advocate to those boards that every executive director needs an administrative assistant that understands board and donor relations.” – Scott Niermann

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