Organizations everywhere have had to adapt to a new normal in 2020, making small to sweeping changes--impacting everything from operations to leadership--that will likely permeate the nonprofit landscape for years to come.
But as Ben Franklin said, “from adversity comes opportunity,” and from our vantage point, we’ve seen so many people rise to the challenge and lead in this time of crisis. We’ve witnessed nonprofits go above and beyond the call of duty to serve their clients, and our recent survey concluded that intrepid board members have significantly increased their engagement. And with all the uncertainty that 2020 has created, having a diverse board, skilled in many different areas, has never been more critical.
Think of your board as real-life Avengers; average people, transforming into superheroes with incredible powers. (But instead of joining forces to fight against the devastation and global ruin threatened by Thanos, they’re fighting against the devastation and ruin the global pandemic has wrought.) Nothing gives us more hope for the future than seeing these incredible transformations.
So, drag the “bat signal” up to the roof and mobilize these board superheroes to answer the call during these pandemic times and beyond:
The Thought Partner
This board member’s super powers include both strategic and out-of-the-box thinking; scenario planning; and a deft ability to pivot. The Thought Partner specializes in challenging the assumptions or actions of fellow board members and staff, encouraging innovation, and helping to create task forces that can meet the changing demands of the organization and industry on the whole.
The Resource Finder
This board member’s super powers include creatively gathering a wide range of needed resources: unrestricted funding, volunteers, in-kind donations and more. They specialize in virtual events of all sizes to cultivate a broader donor base. And, of course, the Resource Finder is also a Resource Giver as a generous donor.
The Subject Matter Expert
Every superhero team needs a Subject Matter Expert, someone who is incredibly versed in a specific aspect of the world in which the heroes operate. The team often consults this “geek” or “wise sage” when needing expertise. In 2020, the Subject Matter Experts stepped up on technology, public health, the ever-evolving rules of PPP loans – and so much more!
This board member superhero knows how to craft a tale that will resonate, even when the world is feeling information overload and compassion fatigue. The Storyteller serves as an ambassador to the community and hones simple, compelling messages for the audiences that matter to your organization.
The Utility Player
This board member superhero keeps your organization’s trains running on time, even during uncertainty and change. From regular governance must-do’s to the executive director’s annual review to ongoing committee reporting, the Utility Player has the flexibility and all-round experience to step in wherever needed.
Last, but certainly not least, is the board member superhero who understands that nonprofit staff are the unsung superheroes and need some TLC too. The Caregiver is always available as a sounding board and regularly checks in with the executive director to listen and offer support. This board member showed appreciation to tireless staff this year by sending gift cards for food delivery and other little treats that brightened the difficult days.
Unlike the characters we all know from books and film, these superheroes don’t have alter-egos, cool catchphrases or badass gadgets, (on the plus side, they also don’t have to wear tight spandex all day…), but what they do have in common with those iconic crusaders is the desire to do good. To help as many people as they can. To work to save humanity from the mounting evils of the world.
Whatever the new normal of the future will be, the world can certainly use more superheroes.