Every board I’ve worked with has board members who are more involved and board members who are less involved. Some of your board members are doers and others are not. If you have a smaller board of 5 to 10 people, then you probably have a board that is almost full of doers. If you have a board of 25+, then you probably know which board members are doers, which ones are only there for the meetings, and which ones you are surprised if you ever see.
Every development person loves the doers on their board. I’m not talking about the doer that gets in the way and is always pushing their own agenda. I’m talking about the doer who wants to help out and is always the first person to volunteer. Finding a way to sustain that kind of engagement is important. You want your board members and volunteers to have a good experience; those that are doers you want to have an even better experience so they will keep helping. Do not overwhelm these people with a thousand different projects and a dozen different action items that is a guaranteed way to burn a volunteer out and keep them from volunteering again.
Give your doers one big task at a time to accomplish. If you must, give them two or three; but don’t give them any more tasks than that. When you give someone just one task you will find that the task gets done quicker and more comprehensively. The less tasks the higher likelihood they will be accomplished. Fewer tasks also mean you have an opportunity to thank and praise your volunteers more often for their essential work. This creates a cycle of good experiences where volunteers know you appreciate the work that they are doing and feel a since of pride that you can count on them to get the work done.
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