Would You Like Fries With That?

Apparently I’m learning a lot in my new job because over the last few months my posts have reflected lessons learned at work. Well for your reading enjoyment I am adding another lesson I learned: serve your board members. I used to treat board members simply as kind-hearted community volunteers. But I was surprised when I realized I have not gone far enough in my valuing board members.

We need to serve our board. When they attend a meeting we should bend-over backwards to make them feel at home (etc. get them a glass of water or a cup of coffee when they arrive). The experience they have will translate to the caliber of organization they see you as. If they feel like you know how to treat them they will be more willing to bring their friends. Board members want to show off their work. If you can be a place they’d like to show off it will do great things for your organization.

If your board members are bringing their friends they are more willing to recruit new board members, they are more connected and willing to give themselves. What has your experience been with your boards? Have you found that serving them makes a difference?


2 Responses to Would You Like Fries With That?

  1. Janice Chan says:

    I haven’t been around long enough to know if board members have been treated differently in the past and whether that has made a difference. However, at my organization, board members are considered high-level donors (and they are, as they all either donate personally or help us raise money) and treated at that level, although obviously as board members, they are much more involved than most of our donors and thus we get to know them better. Still, when my friends come over, even if they have been over to my place a hundred times and know exactly where everything is in the kitchen, I still offer to get them a drink/etc. when they come over. If they feel comfortable getting it themself, that’s fine, but I’d rather offer than take the chance that they don’t feel comfortable enough and are waiting for me to ask so they don’t feel like they’re imposing. But that’s me, and I do it because I rarely feel comfortable enough to just go grab something out of someone’s kitchen, even if I know my way around it, unless they’ve told me ahead of time.

  2. John Haydon says:


    Beautiful post on a point that goes deeper than any Harvard MBA business theory. In the end, we are all people. Board members are the key drivers in a non-profit. Deeply respecting and appreciating them goes a long, long way!

    There is a Buddhist saying that “When you bow to a mirror, it’s reflection bows back.

    Thanks again for the insights!

    John Haydon
    Humanistic Marketing for Non-Profits

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