Six Ways to Rekindle Your Relationship with Your Board (After Two Years of Pandemic Zooms)
This Valentine’s Day, as you pen your notes, pick your gifts and ponder your plans for those you love, don’t forget one very important relationship in your life: The one with your board!
Think back on all the times your board members have been there for you the during the pandemic: attending those extra meetings, learning how to fundraise without in-person events, going the extra mile to care for staff, carrying that weight of the insurmountable social issues, putting pressure on themselves to do more, but not knowing exactly what. There wasn’t anything they didn’t do to show their love for your organization.
But after two years of Zooms and lack of in-person interaction, is it any wonder your board has lost that loving feeling and is in need of some serious romance?
Well, Envision knows a thing or two about romance. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we’re presenting the “conversation hearts” version of Six Ways to Rekindle Your Relationship with Your Board (After Two Years of Pandemic Zooms):
- DM ME - Be direct, honest and open about your feelings–whether it’s Zoom fatigue or something more. Someone needs to say it. This could come from your board president or your governance committee chair, but someone needs to start the conversation and let everyone share their angst so you can work through it as a team. Try adding some deeper questions to your annual self-evaluation survey such as, “What has been my biggest challenge as a board member?” or “What do I need in order to be more effective as a board member?” and “ On a scale of 1 to 10, what is my energy level as a board member right now?”
- ON FLEEK - Share gratitude and appreciation. With boards (and most humans), gratitude is healing. It’s very common to focus only on the deficit – the problem we aren’t solving, the money we aren’t raising – but do make room for positive reinforcement. Invite your board members to brainstorm: “What are we doing well?” Celebrate all the small wins you may have been taking for granted. You may find that board meeting attendance has been strong all last year, and that is a sign of shared commitment by every board member. You may find that every single board member has in some way opened a door to a new supporter or deepened a relationship with a donor in the past year. In other words, everyone had a positive impact on fundraising!
- I DO - Commit to making changes. Nothing says true love like making a vow to have and to hold. In your board’s case, that means to have a plan and hold themselves accountable. Talk can be cheap if there are no actions to back it up. When you say you’re going to make an introduction, do it. When you say you’re going to show up to the. That’s how you put a ring on it.
- PLAY TIME - Have some fun! It’s true, we could all use a good ol’ fashioned board retreat with deli sandwiches, oversized post-its, stinky markers and borrowed office space. Gosh, we miss those days! But you know what would be fun now? A virtual cooking class or wine tasting, an outdoor picnic or BBQ! Nothing brings a team together like socializing. No work talk - and all play.
- WINK WINK - Initiate intimacy. Oh yes, we went there. We think you should get intimate with your board, understand who’s really on your team here – what inspires them, what drove them to your mission, who was their mentor, what they do in their down time, what shows they watch. Grab yourself a deck of thought-starters, and spend 10 minutes at your next board meeting getting to know each other on another level. At Envision, we literally do this for breakfast.
- I GOT U BABE - Consult with a therapist a.k.a. a consultant - Bring in a pro! Something about paying someone to listen and facilitate really makes it stick! Need some support with your board development, board retreat planning or something else? We’d love to help you! Click here to learn more about Envision’s strategy services or to contact us. Let’s talk!