Transforming New Board Members into Effective Leaders

Congratulations, you’ve successfully elected new members to your organization’s board of directors! Now what?

It’s important your new board members get off on the right foot, so we’ve got some proven ideas on how to help your new board members quickly grow into effective leaders.

It may seem basic to let new board members know about the organization’s mission and programs, but this standard messaging assures everyone is on the same page from day one.

A board orientation is a great place to lay out any expected financial and time commitments, get new members up to speed on current board activities and initiatives and give people an actionable understanding of how they can help advance the organization.

Every orientation should include a board handbook with governance policies, accountability practices, financial data, strategic direction, organizational structure and any recent board documents.

Connect new board members with established members in mentor/mentee roles so new members have an immediate connection from whom to learn the ropes and ask questions.

Each board member should have personalized objectives and goals that they help create with staff and other board members. This allows each member to feel personally invested as well as have a plan and to-do items they can go over with their mentor and the board at large.

It also helps keep the board engaged and allows them to grow the organization in any number of ways.

New board members often have varying amounts of time they can devote to their position, so keep them as engaged as you possibly can. From outreach activities to working with staff, members of the board are great educational and community outreach resources.

It is the job of board leadership to ensure new board members are fully engaged and meeting their board goals.

Implement a regularly timed board survey to determine level of engagement, satisfaction and confidentially collect new ideas. New board members may be reluctant to share ideas within an established group, so a confidential survey is a great way to gather some innovative thoughts about the direction and future of an organization.

After their election, new board members are typically very excited to begin their tenure. If the board and organization can properly harness that energy through a thorough orientation, guided development, continued engagement and thoughtful follow-up, each board member will be a valuable leadership resource for years to come – even beyond their term.

How are your board members an asset to your organization? Let us know in the comments below.

If you need more information on board development, elections and surveys, let us know. We’re here to help.