Board Members: Your Honorary Communication Kings & Queens

October 14, 2013

crownHave you crowned your board members yet?

These Kings and Queens of Communications are–or should be–your organization’s number one messengers. To uphold the royal crown, each board member should be

  • A donor, making at least one financial gift that is meaningful to her each year, without being asked.
  • An ambassador, talking about your organization in her various networking circles of friends, family, colleagues and business associates.
  • An informant, always holding up her antennae for news, events and discussions that could influence your organization’s mission and work in the community.

Your staff or board chair should help equip your board members with several pieces of bling for their communication crowns:

  1. Good stories about what your organization is accomplishing.
    It’s great to share a few compelling stories about your organization’s success with board members. It is even better to let them witness the creation of good stories by observing your programs in action. Offer those opportunities and expect board members to make the time to show up. You will notice that it becomes easier for them to speak about your organization from the heart.

  2. Your organization’s greatest needs.
    Keep your board members up to speed about your greatest funding needs so they can speak intelligently with potential donors, funders and supporters in a unified voice. Since your most pressing needs may change from month to month, consider including an item in each board meeting’s consent agenda listing your 5 greatest needs.

  3. Your organization’s profile in The Giving Partner and GuideStar.
    Everyone can view your organization’s profile online at www.thegivingpartner.org and at www.guidestar.org. Do your board members know what members of the public are reading there? Both locations include lots of information about your organization, including their names as the guys and gals in charge. We frequently encounter board members who are surprised by what we know about their organizations because they have never seen the profiles.

Encourage your board to share your organization’s news (as appropriate) on social media. You might send them sample messages they can customize to make things super easy.

Consider having board members rotate turns at board meetings sharing an example of how they talked about your organization to others over the last month–two minutes or less. (Thanks to Northern Trust’s National Director of Philanthropic Services Marguerite Griffin for this great suggestion.)

What success stories do you have from your board member Communications Kings and Queens? We would love to share them.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County


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