Question: How Much is Too Much Board Prep?

Every organization is different and every board is different. Some boards have major players who play a key role in raising money for an organization, whereas others have a working board that is more involved in the strategy of the organization (as we’ve talked about in another post, Who Talks to Your Donors). Some boards meet monthly, others quarterly.

There have been times when I have spent multiple hours preparing for a meeting and had to put revenue generating projects on hold. Have you had this experience where you have spent significant time preparing for a meeting: preparing agendas, talking points, monitoring attendance, copying handouts, etc.? Sometimes I’ve wondered if there might be a better way, so I thought I’d bring this question to you.

How do you work with your board? How much staff time do you allocate to board preparation? Do you assign different staff to each board committee? Do you write talking points for your board members at all of your meetings?

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2 Responses to Question: How Much is Too Much Board Prep?

  1. sandy says:

    One of the best non profit board prep I have worked with was with the Worforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. Staff spent hours preparing for meetings, working up talking points, debriefing, etc. Was it worth it? Yes. Board member were not rubber stamps. They fully understood the issues and were able to make educated decisions and have engaged conversations. That takes staff time and a willingness to have staff and leadership let go of control and hand it over to a board. Without the time to educate, board members rarely know all the facts and thus just accept what is handed to them.

  2. I’ve always felt like preparation is the key to success, especially when it comes to fundraising. Whether it’s setting something up, or just educating members, there’s no way to get the group behind you if they don’t know what’s going on.

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