All ABOARD! On-Boarding your Board to Keep them on the Right Track.
By: Caitlin Hyatt, Account Executive
The election is over and the balloons have fallen, campaign signs are put up and that clever tagline is no longer necessary. The nation can finally unite again, as we are no longer split into two. Oh wait, we’re not talking about political elections here! Elections in the association world, while likely not as contentious, are an important part of governance. The volunteers who are voted into leadership are now responsible, in large part, for the success of the organization over the length of their terms. Ensuring that the Board and new leadership is provided with the tools they need to make this success a reality, should be any AMC’s top objective. Here are some tips for making sure your new Board (and other key volunteer leaders) is brought up to speed on their new role. Depending upon the association, there may be additional items to add to this list. However, it should give you a good starting point:
- All aboard the ORIENTation Express. One of the first things on your list is to create an orientation packet or booklet for your new leaders to review. The packet should include the essentials such as:
- Mission Statement
- Policies and Procedures documentation
- Strategic Plan (executive summary)
- Board roster and list of committees, their charters and who serves them
- Job description & list of upcoming meetings
- Reimbursement policies
- Most recent financial statements
- Cliff notes version of Roberts Rules of Order or whatever parliamentary procedure the Association runs by
- Engineer Engagement. Great, so you’ve got the packet or information ready to distribute to the new leadership! Now comes the challenge of actually getting the Board to take in this information. What we need to realize is that most volunteers have day jobs and reading a very lengthy, somewhat boring, yet VERY essential document is likely not at the top of their to-do list. Why not create a webinar series or set of conference calls to discuss each of these items in blocks instead of praying they review them on their own?
- Don’t Lose Steam. One thing to keep in mind when it comes time for the Board to change over is to take a pulse on where the Board felt like they needed more support. Creating an exit interview survey or even personally talking to key leaders as their terms end is a great way to gauge any areas where you can potentially improve upon with future leadership.
Board Members and volunteer leadership have the best of intentions. The key is making sure that their ideas and proposals don’t conflict with the association’s bylaws or official policies and procedures. Having informed and knowledgeable leadership will benefit you in the long run, and possibly make for shorter more effective meetings.
Caitlin has been with ASG for 5 years. She is currently the Executive Director for the American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA), the Direct Gardening Association (DGA), the Literacy Research Association (LRA), and also the business manager for the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS). Caitlin has a degree from the University of Georgia in Marketing. She loves running, Mellow Mushroom pizza, and spending time with her family.