Purpose for Nonprofit Nexus
The Nonprofit NEXUS is hosted by the Nonprofit Management Programs at the University of Central Florida. This site serves as a platform for the nonprofit community to network, post events to the Community Calendar, post jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities. Please login here to use any of the services.
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Ask an Expert – Question and Answers
As the executive director of a growing nonprofit, I am frustrated that members of our board of directors often don’t show up for meetings and are not connected to the organization. How can I get them be more engaged in their role and to the important work of our organization?
[p]The board of directors can and should be key actors in the success of every nonprofit organization. This seldom happens without conscious effort from the organization's volunteer and staff leadership team. The first steps toward building an engaged board of directors include:[/p] [ol] [li][strong]Review your bylaws with the board[/strong]. What are the requirements spelled out in this document? Do they still fit the needs of the organization? Do you have too many or too few board members? Is there a board service term limit? Are too many or too few meetings required?[/li] [li][strong]Revise your meeting agenda[/strong]. What is working? What is not working? Are you spending too much time listening and following Robert's Rules of Order instead of discussing, learning & planning? Does your agenda include guest speakers related to your organization's mission and challenges, with time for dialogue? Do your meetings focus only on present concerns or future opportunities? A quick measure of meeting success: When board members are leaving the meeting are they talking about their next golf meeting or discussing your organization's priorities and opportunities?[/li] [li][strong]Rethink the role of the Nominating Committee[/strong]. Consider a Leadership Development or Governance Committee focused on recruiting & training the "right" people for your board. Create opportunities for people to get to know your organization so that there is a pool of strong supporters to serve in leadership roles.[/li] [li][strong]Rethink Small Group Structure[/strong]. Be careful that Board committees do not repeat the work of staff. Board and staff effort should be complementary rather than duplicative. Focus on how to bring constituencies and stakeholders together in meaningful ways around the mission and work of your organization. As the legally liable authority for the nonprofit organization, the Board of Directors must fulfill the roles of leadership, stewardship and oversight, and support. However, your leadership team can develop new strategies for engagement.[/li] [/ol] As the legally liable authority for the nonprofit organization, the Board of Directors must fulfill the roles of leadership, stewardship and oversight, and support. However, your leadership team can develop new strategies for engagement.
Volunteers are necessary and extremely helpful for a healthy community. People from all walks of life donate their time and effort to various causes, day and night, every day of the year. In a human services setting, agency clients and program participants usually can’t distinguish between volunteers and paid staff, unless nametags make those designations. Volunteers are often the heart and soul of an organization, handling day-to-day tasks, and raising funds. Without them, some organizations might not exist. Recruitment involves public education, building the public image of your organization or cause and it means attracting and inviting people to consider involvement with your organization. People volunteer for organizations they perceive as worthwhile. They want to know that their contribution will make a difference. One way to make your image more welcoming to volunteers is to make volunteers visible throughout the organization. Use a public bulletin board to promote news about volunteers. Successful Strategies for Recruiting, Training, and Utilizing Volunteers requires astute planning for organizations seeking to maximize the skills of their volunteers, expand their services to the community, and enhance their effectiveness. Your recruitment message, therefore, should be inviting and encourage people to become involved with your organization. You may have multiple recruitment messages tailored to the different volunteers your organization requires, such as students, professionals, neighborhood residents, or the family members of clients. Usually, the first volunteers you recruit are for your organization’s board of directors. They can be active members of your congregation, prominent community members, or professionals with an interest in your organization’s mission. Active and influential board members can help recruit other volunteers. They are the public face of your organization and often your biggest donors. Other recruitment options include: 1. Using mass media such as television, newspapers, billboards 2. Posting volunteer opportunities on yours and other compatible websites 3. Getting referrals from staff, ministers, friends. etc. 4. Organizing programs involving high schools students and Senior Citizens 5. Using your current volunteers - they make convincing sales people For most organizations Volunteer Recruitment is an ongoing process, however it is important to document methods that work to use and build upon for or future endeavors can include that, and build upon that.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has been the standard bearer for this critical part of nonprofits for over 40 years. Its Web site (http://www.afpnet.org/) has a major section devoted to ethics and standards. A substantial portion of those standards are quoted below. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) exists to foster the development and growth of fundraising professionals and the profession, to promote high ethical behavior in the fundraising profession and to preserve and enhance philanthropy and volunteerism.
- Practice their profession with integrity, honesty, truthfulness and adherence to the absolute obligation to safeguard the public trust
- Act according to the highest goals and visions of their organizations, professions, clients and consciences
- Put philanthropic mission above personal gain;
- Inspire others through their own sense of dedication and high purpose
- Improve their professional knowledge and skills, so that their performance will better serve others
- Demonstrate concern for the interests and well-being of individuals affected by their actions
- Value the privacy, freedom of choice and interests of all those affected by their actions
- Foster cultural diversity and pluralistic values and treat all people with dignity and respect
- Affirm, through personal giving, a commitment to philanthropy and its role in society
- Adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of all applicable laws and regulations
- Advocate within their organizations adherence to all applicable laws and regulations
- Avoid even the appearance of any criminal offense or professional misconduct
- Bring credit to the fundraising profession by their public demeanor
- Encourage colleagues to embrace and practice these ethical principles and standards
- Be aware of the codes of ethics promulgated by other professional organizations that serve philanthropy